JAMIE OLIVER’S Italian mentor, chef Gennaro Contaldo, has been making, cooking and eating pasta for more than 50 years. Jam-packed with simple, seasonal recipes, plus all the need-to-know basics, this beautiful book will transform the way you cook pasta.
Serves 2 / to cook: 55 minutes
- 12 ripe cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- ½ a fresh red chilli
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 6 black or green olives, stone in
- extra virgin olive oil
- 5 baby octopuses
- 1 tablespoon baby capers, rinsed
- ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
- 200g linguine
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- optional: ½ a lemon, to serve
Start by preparing your ingredients. Halve the tomatoes, roughly chop the garlic, then finely slice the chilli and anchovies. Crush the olives with the palm of your hand, pull out the stones, then tear the flesh in half.
Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan over a medium high heat, then add the octopuses (it may look like a lot but they’ll shrink to half the size), tomatoes, garlic, chilli, anchovies, olives, capers and most of the whole parsley leaves. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes, or until reduced and smelling good.
When the sauce is nearly ready, cook the linguine in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserving some of the cooking water, drain the linguine and add to the sauce. Toss well over the heat until lovely and glossy, adding a splash of the cooking water to loosen, if needed. Very finely slice the reserved parsely leaves. Season the pasta carefully to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with a drizzle of oil, a scattering of the remaining parsley and a lemon wedge, if you like. Fantastic!
Octopus is delicious – as it shrinks, it lets out all the lovely flavours of the sea. So good!
Traditional Basil Pesto
Serves 4 / to prep: 10 minutes
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 40g fresh basil leaves
- 15g pine nuts
- 50g Parmesan cheese
- 30g pecorino cheese
- 80ml extra virgin olive oil
If you’re making this in a pestle and mortar, put in the garlic and salt and pound to a rough paste. Add the basil leaves and continue pounding it down, then add the pine nuts and finely grate in the cheeses. Continue pounding the mixture until you get a paste. Gradually drizzle in the oil, mixing it in until combined.
If you’re making this in a food processor or blender, pulse the garlic and salt together a few times to a rough paste. Add the basil leaves and pulse again, then add the pine nuts and finely grate in the cheeses. Continue pulsing until you get a paste, but don’t overdo it – the heat of the machine may turn the pesto bitter. Gradually add the oil, pulsing as you go until just combined.
Serve the pesto immediately with freshly cooked pasta, or place in an airtight jar and cover with a little oil so it doesn’t dry up. Store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks until needed.
Traditionally, pesto is made in a pestle and mortar and that’s how I like it – with a bit of crunch. As I’m from Amalfi, I love lemons! Sometimes I add a squeeze of juice right at the end of the recipe, but see what you’re in the mood for.
Taken from The Pasta Book, published by Penguin Random House. Recipe © Gennaro Contaldo. Photography © Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited 2015, by David Loftus.