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Gennaro Contaldo recipe: Parma ham and red pepper with taglierini

Salad and barbecues may be summer favourites, but some Italian fare is never out of season, TV cook Gennaro Contaldo tells Keeley Bolger

20 mins
Published: August 1, 2015

While many of us may be relaxing into a mellow holiday season mode, Italian cook Gennaro Contaldo is gearing up for another busy summer.

A great friend and mentor to Jamie Oliver, Contaldo is heavily involved in Oliver’s Italian restaurant chain and has just released The Pasta Book – his second cookery title this year – which is tied in with the younger chef’s online FoodTube channel. It’s hard work, but he clearly loves it.

“A chef will always be a chef, it doesn’t matter what kind of weather it is,” says the 66-year-old, who prefers to refer to himself as a cook. “It’s nice to have a rest in the summer, but summer is also a nice time in the restaurant. The market stalls are full of incredible fresh vegetables, fish, herbs…People walk around with a big smile on their faces. It makes you happy.”

1 Start by preparing your ingredients. Very finely slice the onion, pepper and half the Parma ham. Finely slice the chilli. Quarter the tomato, cut out the seeds and finely dice the flesh. Finely chop the parsley leaves.

2 Put the finely sliced Parma ham into a large dry frying pan over a high heat and cook for five minutes, or until crispy. Transfer to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain.

3 Cook the taglierini in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, return the frying pan to a medium-high heat with three tablespoons of oil.

4 Add the onion, pepper and chilli and cook for a minute or so. Roughly slice the remaining Parma ham and add to the pan, stir in most of the parsley leaves and season lightly with salt and pepper.

5 Reserving some of the cooking water, drain the taglierini and add to the sauce. Add the lemon juice, diced tomato and a good grating of Parmesan. Toss well over the heat until lovely and glossy, adding a splash of the cooking water to loosen, if needed.

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6 Divide between your plates, sprinkle over the crispy Parma ham and add an extra grating of Parmesan. Finish by sprinkling over the lemon zest and the rest of the chopped parsley.

• The Pasta Book by Gennaro Contaldo is published in paperback by Michael Joseph, priced £7.99. Available now


  • ½ a red or white onion, peeled
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded
  • 90g higher-welfare slices of Parma ham
  • ¼ of a fresh red chilli
  • 1 large firm tomato
  • ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 200g taglierini pasta
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice from ½ an unwaxed lemon
  • Parmesan cheese, for grating
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