Press event – all opinions are my own.
Gennaro Contaldo will be a familiar name to those who love Italian Cuisine, but if you’re unfamiliar, Gennaro is an Italian chef, cook book author and TV personality, frequently appearing in programmes with Jamie Oliver and on the BBC 2 show ‘Two Greedy Italians’.
With the launch of Gennaro’s cook book, Slow Cook Italian, Gennaro visited Cardiff and showed me how to rustle up some authentic Italian pasta dishes at an exclusive masterclass.
Passionate, genuine and full of interesting stories and knowledge, the morning began with Gennaro sharing his love for local Welsh food as he sipped an espresso. Gennaro particularly enjoys the fresh fish, fruit and mushrooms – if you’re interested in sampling the local cuisine Cardiff’s Indoor Market is a great place to start.
Gennaro is very enthusiastic about home cooking being a shared experience with family. It’s easy to see why he gets on with Jamie Oliver so well when they share such similar values.
Gennaro was quick to show us that even with a demanding schedule, home cooking doesn’t have to be a chore, or time consuming.
Mixing wheat flour, water and two eggs in a bowl, Gennaro demonstrated how simple fresh pasta is to make. The dough can even be stored in your fridge for a few days to be reused. Surprisingly a little can go a long way – a fist full of dough is enough to feed around 6 people.
Heading for the bustling kitchen, Gennaro explained step-by-step how we can make flavoursome pasta dishes in mere minutes using a stock of fresh, easy to source ingredients. We smelt the fresh herbs and contributed to the dishes – “do you like chilli?”, Gennaro asked, before chopping some up for the cooking cod fish.
With the sauces simmering, our pasta was put in for boiling. I’ve never tried it al dente before this masterclass, “to the tooth” he explained was the English translation.
In almost no time, three generous sized pasta dishes were put together – not before a final sprinkle of parmesan or olive oil drizzle of course.
Forks at the ready, we plunged them straight into the steaming pasta dish. The firm tagliatelle pasta gave the meal more of a bite, you could fully appreciate the fresh, fragrant tomato and garlic sauce it was infused in as a result.
The aromatic mushroom spaghetti dish was distinct and delectable, and Gennaro’s love for mushrooms really translated (a similar recipe of his available here). After chewing through the remaining leftovers, Gennaro rustled up a final truffle pasta for us to try.
Gennaro’s book is available in stores and on Amazon titled ‘Slow Cook Italian‘, featuring easy to prepare recipes like soups and stews for slow cooking.
Thanks to Gennaro, Jamie’s Italian restaurant & PR and St. David’s Shopping Centre for this masterclass experience.
Post updated: October 2020.