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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.

You will need

Serves 4

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 1 1/2 slices of bread, broken into pieces, approximately 60g (Nadia uses day-old ciabatta but use gluten-free option if required)
  • 1 tablespoon stock powder (Nadia uses plant-based beef-style stock)
  • 1/2 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 (gluten-free if required)

To serve

  • Extra basil leaves
  • Vegan parmesan cheese (store bought, or make Nadia's easy homemade parmesan!)

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10 mins to prep

  1. Step 1

    Add the walnuts, bread, stock powder, garlic, liquid smoke and parsley into a food processor and process until it resembles a medium-fine crumb.

  2. Step 2

    Heat 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.

  3. Step 3

    Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente.

  4. Step 4

    Before turning off the heat, check the ragu for seasonings, adding salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

  5. Step 5

    Stir 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.

  6. Step 6

    Serve with a sprinkling of vegan parmesan cheese and a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Hot 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.

Recipe: Nadia Fragnito

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