Spinach & Pine Nut Sugo

The kind of chunky-yet-silky tomato sauce that is buttery but somehow light. I love it with gnocchi, but you'd get an equal amount of pleasure wrapped in and around any pasta shape.
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian


  • frying pan


  • 50 g butter
  • 2-3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp sake (optional)
  • 1 bunch spinach washed, leaves picked
  • 1 tin/jar whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • sprinkle sugar (optional - for enhancing the tomatoes' sweetness)
  • heaps of grated parmesan to serve
  • splash olive oil to serve
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Blanch spinach in the salted boiling pasta water by chucking it in then fishing it out straight away with your skimmer or a sieve. Squeeze out any excess moisture. Chop finely. Set aside.
  • Check the instructions on your pasta pack - if it's one that takes longer than 10 minutes, get it in the pot and set your timer.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in the pan until foamy on a medium heat, then add pine nuts and garlic slivers. Cook until the pine nuts turn fragrant and slightly golden.
  • Pour in the whole peeled tomatoes and tomato paste, stirring them about until they've broken down. Splash in sake, sprinkle in sugar, and bring everything to the boil. Allow the sauce to thicken up on high heat, stirring regularly, watching the bubbles until they become smaller and more regular.
  • When sauce has thickened and pasta is cooked, chuck the spinach and pasta into the sauce, stir to combine. Sprinkle in a little parmesan and taste for seasoning.
  • Serve with more parmesan, a splash of olive oil, and a crack of pepper.


you could also use baby spinach if that was more your speed. 
Passata is a good option if you don't have a tin or two of tomatoes. 
Keyword pasta, pine nuts, spinach, tomato sauce