When Paddy Met Gennaro – The Sequel




It is already almost a year ago since Paddy met his hero, Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo, and had the opportunity to help him create a dish or two. He has not stopped talking about it since and will be something he remembers fondly for a very long time.


Here is how they looked together last year:


Paddy and Gennaro 2015
Paddy and Gennaro 2015


When Bertolli invited us to another event hosted by Gennaro to demonstrate a new pasta shape added to their range, Paddy was incredibly excited to be going along.

We headed off to Spitalfields Market very early in the day in order to ensure we made it through the Kent and London traffic in good time. Paddy was so looking forward to it but when it came to it…




…a combination of a build-up of excitement, tiredness and emotion from the previous couple of days (it was just after his grandad’s funeral), and Paddy suddenly became overwhelmed with emotion. Anyone who knows him will know how out of character this is and even a kind word and encouragement from Gennaro didn’t help. Paddy declined Gennaro’s request for Paddy to join him to help out with the cooking once again but the aubergine Gennaro grabbed from the display and handed to Paddy in an effort to cheer him up seemed to help after a while, with Paddy protectively holding onto the vegetable throughout much of the demonstration!




Gennaro is a great fan of Bertolli, an Italian food brand that was established way, way back in 1865. Familiar with the brand as a child, Gennaro loves the quality and taste of the products the company makes and, as you’d expect if you have ever watched him cook, he enthusiastically told us so!


gennaro contaldo


As a result, he was hosting the event with a view to demonstrating Bertolli’s new pasta shape, the Bertollini.


gennaro contaldo bertollini


Bertolli’s new Bertollini pasta are cone-shaped pieces of pasta made not only with an original egg pasta recipe, but also spinach and beetroot versions that provide your plate with a dashing but natural splash of colour.


Photo Credit: Paddy Sullivan
Photo Credit: Paddy Sullivan


As Gennaro took to the culinary stage, Paddy soon got back to his usual self and after a quick tutorial (“turn the lens to focus, press the button to take a picture”), he took my treasured Nikon and became the event’s main photographer. Bertolli, if you want any of the following shots, he’s happy to sell the licence to you… for a fee – or pasta. I particularly like this one of the copper jug and pans that I said would be nice additions to my collection. Arty, no?




Gennaro then continued with his demonstration but, true to the real nature of Italian cooking’s cucina povera – the ‘kitchen of the poor’ – which uses whatever ingredients are at hand and available in order to create delicious meals, he simply asked his audience to choose from the fresh ingredients on show before proceeding to create a mouthwatering meal from them.




And so he chopped his way through courgettes and asparagus for the first dish, throwing them together with spring onions before tossing them in a pan of melted Bertolli with Butter…




Meanwhile, the pan of water bubbled in preparation for the Bertollini pasta cones to be added. The beauty of these shapes lies not only in their taste but also in the fact that they take a mere three minutes to cook…




A delicious meal was ready in only minutes…




A little parmesan…




And it’s ready for tasting!




And so Gennaro continued with crushing…




…and chopping…




…and slicing…




…creating one delicious dish…




after another…




…stopping only to pause for Paddy to take a pic…




…that made his day…




As if you could ever think otherwise, Gennaro was ever the professional – kind, funny, and a pretty good cook too. And above all, still Paddy’s friend…




If you fancy trying out some of Gennaro’s recipes you can do so over on Bertolli’s recipe page. Or you might want to forget Gennaro’s recipes altogether and give my 5 minute Buttery Pasta with Tomato and Oregano recipe a go instead.


Click over here for more delicious recipes and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for a sneak peek into upcoming dishes and family news!



Leave a Reply