Salsa Magro (Lean Pasta Sauce)

A modern twist on Pellegrino Artusi's 1890's recipe, the man known for revolutionizing Italian cuisine. This is a versatile sauce which you can enjoy with pasta, on pizza or even with chicken and fish! Butter has been substituted for our heart healthy olive oil and the anchovies can also be omitted to make it vegetarian/ vegan! This recipe was shared by 'Ink Sugar Spice' blog.

Categories: Marinades & Dressings

Serves: 4 (with pasta) Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 50 minutes



  • 2 x 500g bottles of Passata
  • 80g Chestnut or Button Mushrooms, chopped
  • 140ml Filippo Berio Gusto Fruttato Olive Oil (or Extra Virgin)
  • 2 tbsp Filippo Berio Mild & Light Olive Oil
  • 60g Pine Nuts
  • 4 Anchovies, diced
  • 2 Shallots, finely diced (or one red onion)
  • 1 tbsp Filippo Berio Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • Parmesan rind, chopped
  • Fresh basil and thyme, chopped


  1. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over a low heat until they start to go golden brown.
  2. Transfer the pine nuts to a pestle and mortar (or blender) and crush with a pinch of salt and the cornflour.
  3. Gently fry the chopped shallots in the Mild and Light olive oil over a medium heat for about 10 minutes (until they start going translucent). Agitate or stir occasionally.
  4. Add the anchovies and fry until they start to melt. Again, you'll need to stir or agitate from time to time.
  5. Add in the passata, parmesan rind, mushrooms, crushed pine nuts and Gusto Fruttato olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and a large pinch of sugar.
  6. Let simmer until the juice starts to dry off, stirring occasionally, and then add 120ml of boiled water. You should know when it's done when the sauce has a thick custard consistency.
  7. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes, checking on it regularly to ensure it's not catching on the bottom. If it's drying out too quickly add a little more water.
  8. Add in the chopped herbs and taste, adjusting the seasoning to your taste.
  9. Can be served immediately with pasta or gnocchi. See other options in 'Cooks Tips'. Store in the fridge if not using immediately or suitable for freezing.

Cooks tips

Also useful as a sauce for fish or chicken - will serve 6-8 in this case (add in capers for fish and sage or rosemary for chicken).

Also great as a perfect tomato sauce for pizza.

Suitable for freezing - we recommend freezing in ice cube trays. Once frozen you can pop out the cubes of sauce into a freezer bag so you can re-use the ice cube tray. It also means you can select the right amount easily and cubes defrost quicker than a large block, or you can just pop one frozen cube in a plain sauce to enrich it.

Omit the anchovies to make it vegetarian/vegan.

Cook with:

Gusto Fruttato Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This robust, full bodied Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds a lively burst of flavour to a variety of recipes.

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