green pesto penne
If you don’t follow Gennaro Contaldo on Instagram, you’re missing out. He posts great food all the time. When he posted a picture of a lunch time special, I had to make it. He didn’t really describe a recipe so here’s my recipe for a green pesto penne inspired by Gennaro Contaldo.
Since employing Jamie Oliver in the Neal Street restaurant in the 1990s, the two have always had a close relationship. Gennaro looks on him like a son, and Jamie gives him credit for properly teaching him Italian cuisine. Hence, Gennaro has a mentor / ambassadorial role at Jamie’s Italian, roaming their branches spreading his love and knowledge of Italian food. What joy he must bring to their kitchens, with his infectious attitude and heavily accented English. I love him when he’s on TV, and he was just as genial when I met him in 2016.
Pesto is a great catch-all recipe and this spring pesto penne recipe is a good store cupboard standby. This recipe brings together great produce and turns it into a veg-packed sauce that glows with goodness. You could easily substitute the mint for another leafy one, or swap whatever greens you have on hand. Just blanch as needed to tenderise or quieten harsh flavours. Don’t skip the ricotta, the nutty creaminesss is a perfect foil to the herby flavours.
Apart from baking the ricotta, the whole thing can be done in under 15 minutes so is a great weekday dinner.