Rich Walnut Ragu

comfort food

When it comes to Italian cooking, you can put your trust in Nadia Fragnito to do it properly. Here, she harnesses the complexity of the mighty walnut to create a rich, melt-in-your-mouth ragu that hits the spot in a big way.

Preparation time Prep: 10 mins
cook 35 mins
Skill level Easy Peasy

You will need:

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 ½ slices of bread, broken into pieces, approximately 60g (Nadia uses day-old ciabatta)
  • 1 tablespoon stock powder (Nadia uses plant-based beef-style stock)
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 700g good quality tomato passata or diced canned tomatoes
  • Few basil leaves (optional)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 500g dried or fresh fettuccine or pappardelle pasta
To serve
  • Extra basil leaves
  • Vegan parmesan cheese (store bought, or make Nadia's easy homemade parmesan!)
Recipe: Nadia Fragnito


  • 1Add the walnuts, bread, stock powder, garlic, liquid smoke and parsley into a food processor and process until it resembles a medium-fine crumb.
  • 2Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frypan. Fry the walnut mince for a few minutes until it's starting to brown. Stir through the tomato passata and basil, and simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  • 3Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente.
  • 4Before turning off the heat, check the ragu for seasonings, adding salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
  • 5Stir the cooked pasta through the walnut ragu, adding a dash of reserved pasta cooking water if more liquid is needed for the sauce. Taste and season with salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
  • 6Serve with a sprinkling of vegan parmesan cheese and a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Tip: If you’d prefer a chunkier mince, your ragu will turn out a little crunchy in texture. To avoid this, you can soak walnuts overnight beforehand to soften.

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