I was told the day started by 10am at the latest, so in true Indian style, I arrived at 10:05 to find boxes full of bottles being washed and dried.
As the bottles were finished off, boxes and boxes of Roma tomatoes started to be brought into the kitchen, These were washed, and halved, and pretty soon very large bowls were filled with chopped tomatoes.
These tomatoes were sent outside, to where the magic machine was... Let me tell you about the magic machine. Apparently these machines are a fixture in most Italian homes, but I had never seen one! It was a big electric tomato pulping machine, where you put the tomatoes in the feeder bowl at the top, and then out the front came out the tomato pulp and out the side were the skins! I told you it was magic!
The skins were put through a second time to ensure all the tomato goodness was extracted, and then put in a bucket for the animals to eat. Nothing is wasted!
There was a continuous stream of chopped tomatoes being sent outside to be pulped, and the pulp being sent back inside to be bottled. Once the pulp was funnelled into the bottles, a teaspoon of salt and a sprig was basil was put on top and then the bottles were capped.
The bottles were then put in a 44 gallon drum, covered with water, and left to boil for at least two hours to seal and preserve.
And then came my favourite part. Whilst that was boiling away, the decision on what to have for dinner was made. It only made sense to use the freshly pulped passata, and it wouldn't be proper Italian food if the pasta wasn't made from scratch!
The chef decided that tagliatelle puttanesca would be dish of choice, without anchovies to cater for the difficult vegetarian! A short lesson in the Italian language revealed that puttanesca comes from the Italian word puttana, meaning prostitute and we struggled to work out the relationship between a pasta sauce and a prostitute!
I watched closely as the pasta was being made - a lengthy kneading process taken care of by the Thermomix, and then the dough was put through the pasta machine, rolled out till it was thin enough, hung on the back of chair to dry, and then cut into strips.