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RAGU- FEB (2 of 5)There’s a par­tic­u­lar kind of Itali­an recipe that I love, where there are hardly any ingredi­ents and it’s all so aggress­ively simple that it feels like it almost shouldn’t work, but it’s done so well that it’s far prefer­able to any­thing more fussy. This is one such recipe. It’s based on some­thing I found many years ago in Cuisine magazine, and it’s really just toma­toes and peas, that’s all, des­pite the fancy-sound­ing title.

Because it’s Feb­ru­ary, toma­toes should still be sweetly burst­ing with sum­mer fla­vour, and so I recom­mend using fresh cherry toma­toes if you’re able. If they’re not avail­able, or if you want to make this at any oth­er time of year, canned cherry toma­toes or canned crushed toma­toes are a fine substitute.

This is so easy and one of those recipes you can make when it feels like you have noth­ing in the cup­board. In terms of what to do once you’ve made it, the ragù is per­fect stirred through freshly cooked pasta, or bet­ter yet, used to top a pile of but­tery, creamy, soft polenta, a sub­stance I can­not get enough of.

Ragù di piselli



  • 75g but­ter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 100ml white wine
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 2 × 250g pun­nets of cherry toma­toes, or two 400g cans of cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup tomato passata
  • Hand­ful of freshly grated Parmes­an, to serve
  • Salt and pep­per, to taste



  1. Melt half the but­ter with the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Gently fry the chopped onion until trans­lu­cent, then pour in the wine and allow it to fizz up and evap­or­ate slightly.
  3. Tip in the peas and tomatoes.
  4. Add the tomato pas­sata and sim­mer for around 20 minutes or until the sauce thick­ens slightly. Stir reg­u­larly, hand­ling it gently so as to not crush the toma­toes too much.
  5. Add the remain­ing but­ter, stir until it melts, then remove from the heat.
  6. Taste the sauce and add salt and pep­per as you see fit.
  7. Serve on top of soft polenta, stirred through pasta, or how­ever you please, and top with freshly grated Parmesan.


Serves 4