Quick Pig & Olive Ragu

Quick Pig & Olive Ragu
Quick Pig & Olive Ragu
5 from 2 votes

Quick Pig & Olive Ragu

I love the idea of ‘pig and olive’. It sounds like a cosy Irish pub. Don’t you think?

Anyway it was the idea of this name which inspired this dish. I had olives. I had pork mince and I had the words ‘pig and olive’ rattling around in my head.

While it may look like a regular bolognese-style dish, the olives really do take it to a completely different place.

If you’re feeding little ones you can always serve theirs and then add the olives for the adults. In our house the boys have this with pasta and I have it with veggies.

Everyone happy.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian, modern
Keyword dinner, fast, olive, pork, ragu, simple
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 people


  • 500 g (1lb) pork mince (ground pork)
  • small bunch green onions sliced
  • 100 g (3.5oz) black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • cooked pasta cooked kale, baby spinach, steamed cabbage or zucchini noodles, to serve
  • parsley leaves or shaved parmesan to serve


  1. Heat an extremely generous glug of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Add pork and green onions and cook, stirring for a few minutes or until pork is no longer pink and starting to brown.
  2. Add olives, tomato paste and 6 tablespoons (1/3 cup) water. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few more minutes or until the sauce is hot and the flavours have come together. Taste and season with salt if needed. If it tastes a little too sharp and acidic from the tomato either add more olive oil or a few tablespoons butter.
  3. Serve hot ragu on top of your chosen accompaniment with parsley or parmesan to finish.

WINE MATCH: A nice savoury red like a Temperanillo or Malbec.

Variations & Substitutions

short on time – use pitted olives. Cook the pasta / veg at the same time as the ragu.

vegetarian / vegan – cooked lentils and olives! Or chickpeas. For vegans use the parsley or see the dairy-free option below.

dairy-free – serve with parsley, ground almonds or brazil nut ‘parmesan’.

more substantial (carb lovers) – lashings of pasta!

small-person friendly – skip the olives (or save them for the adults). And add a little butter to the sauce to soften the acidity.

Low FODMAP – only use the green tops of the onions.

regular onion – replace green onions with a normal onion but cook it in oil until soft (but not browned) before adding the pork.

different meat – any ground meat will work. Or leftover cooked meat. Sausages are also fab (especially pork and fennel), just remove the meat from the casings then cook as per the recipe. OR for some spice use mexican chorizo or sliced spanish chorizo.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

pork mince (ground pork) – freeze it.

green onions – will keep in the fridge in a plastic bag for weeks, use for another meal.

black olives / tomato paste / pasta – keep them in the pantry.

kale – will keep for a few weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. Or for longer if cooked as per the recipe. Can be frozen.

baby spinach – either pop them in the freezer or wilt down in a covered pot with a little olive oil. This way they’ll keep in the fridge for a few weeks.

cabbage (white) – will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for weeks, even months. Can be frozen but will have a wilted texture once defrosted.

zucchini – will keep for 2 weeks or longer in a plastic bag in the fridge. To keep it even longer, cook sliced zucchini in a little butter until just soft then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

parsley – will keep in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag for a few weeks. Can be frozen or make a parsley oil by packing the leaves into a clean jar and covering with extra virgin olive oil.

parmesan – keeps for longer in a chunk so only grate when you’re cooking. I wrap in waxed paper or baking paper and then keep in an airtight container or a sealed ziplock bag. I prefer this over just wrapping in cling wrap because the air in the container allows the cheese to breathe and not sweat but the container / plastic bag prevents from drying out in the dry fridge air. Either way will keep for months.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the parsley / parmesan separate. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, bring back to a good simmer.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

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  • Pig and olive does sound cute! I will be trying this one out soon Jules. Will leave feedback. Can’t wait to try.

  • 5 stars
    Made this last night – it was excellent. Like so many of your recipes, they sound almost too simple to be delicious (modern conditioning, lol). But then you start eating and every bite is better than the last. Because the ground pork available locally is pretty poor quality, I used ground wild board from the frozen section (which was surprisingly reasonable), and I substituted a 14oz can of organic, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes for the paste and water. No other changes or additions. Came out amazing! Served over lightly sauteed zucchini ribbons.

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