Tomato pancetta ragu with vegetables

I got some kumato from my sister and my friend gave me Warrigal greens (spinach). I found that I have a packet of pancetta in my freezer, and penne in my pantry. Decided to make tomato pancetta ragu to go with penne. Had not had pasta for a while as meat are expensive to get.

Google: “Warrigal greens or New Zealand spinach, is a flowering plant in the fig-marigold family. It is often cultivated as a leafy vegetable. The leaves have a mild flavour, similar to spinach. It is becoming increasingly popular with chefs and can be found on the menu of many top-end restaurants.”

“They must always be blanched around 10-15 seconds before eating, as the leaves contain oxalates which in high quantities can have adverse effects. The good news is that they are naturally very high in antioxidants.”

“Kumato is a standard-size tomato cultivar weighing between 80 and 120 grams (2.8 and 4.2 ounces). It is firm, with a colour ranging from a green to reddish brown or purple, varying in flavour from almost no flavour to sweeter than typical tomatoes due to a higher fructose content. The taste succulent, sweet and slightly tart.”

“Kale, or leaf cabbage, belongs to a group of cabbage cultivars grown for their edible leaves, although some are used as ornamentals. Kale plants have green or purple leaves, and the central leaves do not form a head. Kale is a nutritious food rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, and beta-carotene. It also contains nutrients that can support eye health, weight management, heart health, and more.”

This is a simple meal that is no mess in the kitchen. I am glad to share my very healthy dinner that is satisfying, comforting and delicious. Let’s cook healthy dinner to avoid flu, cold, fever and covid!!!


300 g penne or any pasta of your choice
250 g mini medley tomatoes
250 g Warrigal greens or spinach
180 g chopped kale
100 g pancetta
25 g Parmesan Pecorino
2 huge kumato, remove stems and wedges
2 bay leaves
1 c red wine
1/2 c oil
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs oil
1 Tbs garlic minced
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs chili sauce (OPT)
1 Tbs red wine vinegar (OPT)
black pepper
chili flakes (OPT)


In a pot on medium high heat, add 1 Tbs oil until hot. Add in pancetta, cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove and set aside. In the same pot add 1/2 c oil and heat over medium high heat, carefully add kumato wedges and mini medley tomatoes, 1 Tsp salt and black pepper. Reduce heat to medium, cook stirring often until tomatoes has burst and just start to release juice about 8-10 minutes.

Continue cooking at simmering mode, stirring occasionally until tomatoes begin to thickened about 8-10 minutes. Add in garlic, cook stirring occasionally until fragrant about 30 seconds. Use potato masher, mashed some tomatoes to pulps and leave some tiny ones alone for garnish.

Bring another pot with water to boil. Once boil, add in salt and penne, cook until al dente about 10-13 minutes. Once penne is al dente, reserve 1 c water. Remove penne with slotted spoon to a bowl, keep warm. Meantime adds in warrigal greens (spinach) blanch it for 15-20 seconds. Remove and drain well, set aside.

Then adds in red wine, 1/2 c reserve water first, tomato paste, and chili sauce if you want into your tomato mixture, cook stirring occasionally until wine and tomatoes comes together and sauce is glossy about 10 minutes. Add in kale first about 1 minutes after add in warrigal greens (spinach) and Parmesan Pecorino; cook stirring constantly until vegetables are wilted about 30 seconds; now if sauce is too thick or little add in the remaining water. Add back pancetta and 2 Tbs butter. Season to taste. I like mine a bit more vinegar, I add red wine vinegar.  

Divide penne into 4 bowls. Spoon a ladle or two tomato pancetta ragu on top of penne. Scatter chili flakes over the top, it’s a must for me. Serve immediately with a glass of red wine. Enjoy!!!

Note: You can use any tomatoes, even canned. You can use any green vegetables such as rapini, carrot, asparagus, capsicums, eggplant, basil, or your home country spinach. You can add green beans, cannellini or farro. You can add mushrooms. You can omit water and cheese for your ragu. You can add Torpedo onion, yellow onion, or purple cabbage.



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