Cupboard staples and how to use them: Passata
When it comes to permanent residents of the pantry, there can be nothing more reliable than that beloved jar of passata. Originally invented by Italians, this skinless, seedless tomato sauce is base for many classic pasta dishes, but its seemingly limitless versatility has made it an indispensable ingredient in global cuisine. We’ve selected a few of our favourite recipes so that you can be more resourceful when stocks are low. It’s also worth noting that you could also sub chopped tomatoes in when necessary – either blend them up, or keep them as is to add some texture and retain more flavour.
Davide Oldani’s Spaghetti al Pomodoro
Never underestimate a simple recipe. Davide Oldani’s spaghetti al pomodoro does what Italian food does best: lets the ingredients sing. This dish forgoes the classic soffrito base and gives tomatoes the stage without overcrowding the palate. When using passata rather than fresh produce, you may want to reduce it down to get a more intense flavour.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roasted Sweet Potato, Tomato Sauce and Feta
If you want to whip up something quick that tastes of the summer, Yotam Ottonlenghi has a great vegetarian offering that will whisk you away to the Meditteranean. His roasted sweet potato, tomato sauce and feta was designed for one, but can be scaled up according to numbers – and you can swap the veggies too, depending on what’s in the cupboard.
The Cooking Foodie’s Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
We could hardly mention passata without offering at least one recipe for the iconic meatballs. The Cooking Foodie’s from-scratch method is easy to follow and once you watch this video, you’ll never go back to shop-bought meatballs.
Minimalist Baker’s Spicy Red Pasta with Lentils
It’s never been a better time for vegan recipes, and blogging sensation Minimalist Baker’s spicy pasta with lentils is a great option for those looking for a hearty plant-based alternative with a kick. Along with passata, protein-rich pantry favourites lentils make this a filling plate, and it uses gluten-free pasta too (optional), so it can cater to the most common dietary requirements.
Simon Rimmer’s Huevos Rancheros Sunday Brunch
If you’re in the market for an invigorating mid-morning meal, this huevos rancheros recipe from Sunday Brunch‘s Simon Rimmer will bring some heat to the table. This Mexican-inspired spicy salsa dish will help you to elevate your egg game and it takes less than 30 minutes to prep, so it won’t eat into your day.
Hungry Healthy Happy’s BBQ Sauce
You can also use passata to make other sauces that you don’t have in stock. Hungry Healthy Happy’s healthy bbq sauce is lighter than the bottled variety, and it can be used in all manner of dishes, including pulled pork or their incredibly tender slow cooker bbq chicken. If you don’t fancy seasoning your jackfruit, herbivores might also be tempted to save their passata for a helping of slow cooker baked beans.
Jamie Oliver’s Squash and Spinach Pasta Rotolo
Despite the collapse of Jamie’s Italian in the UK, the eponymous chef’s love for this national cuisine lives on. It’s unsurprising then, that rotolo, the dish that got him recognition, hails from Tuscany. His squash and spinach edition is a perfect way to make use of both your passata and pasta while veering away from the more obvious – though equally delicious – spaghetti bolognese.
Jack Monroe’s Red Mushroom Curry
There are also budget options for those who are feeling the squeeze of the pandemic, none more cost-efficient than Jack Monroe’s red mushroom curry. According to the blogger, the dish comes in at only 40p per person (if you use Sainsbury’s basics passata) and he recommends it for fighting off the flu, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect.