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Antonio Carluccio's Pasta recipes

We're delighted that Antonio Carluccio - chef, restaurateur and godfather of Italian food - is joining Mumsnet for a webchat on Wed 7 May, 12-1pm. To celebrate his latest cookery book, Antonio Carluccio's Pasta, we have two mouth-watering recipes for Mumsnetters to try.

Antonio Carluccio     Antonio Carluccio's pasta

Antonio Carluccio's new book, Pasta, is out now (Quadrille, £20). Photography by Laura Edwards.


Spaghetti Di Farro Con Luganega (spelt spaghetti with sausage sauce)

Serves 4

Spelt spaghetti with sausage sauce

Most commonly, an ancient wheat type called 'spelt' is called farro in Italy. In fact, a closely related rare wheat, in English 'emmer', is correctly the botanical equivalent of farro. (Like the history of pasta, the untangling of grain types is a minefield.) Spelt was used long before our modern-day wheat because it was easy to grow in almost every region of Italy. But it is in Tuscany and Umbria that it is still used today, in modest quantities, in the making of both bread and pasta (and risotto-type dishes). The flavour of both pasta and bread is different, with a wholemeal characteristic, which makes it less delicate and nuttier than ordinary wheat pasta. Combining spelt pasta with luganega, a tasty sausage originating from Greece, seems to be ideal.


350g dried spelt spaghetti pasta
salt and pepper, to taste
60g Pecorino cheese, freshly grated 

For the sauce:

30g dried porcini, rehydrated
3 tbsp olive oil
50g unsalted butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 fresh hot chilli, finely chopped
250g sausage (luganega) meat removed from the skin and crumbled
100ml white wine
2 tbsp tomato paste, diluted in 2 tbsp water
1 tbsp fresh rosemary needles 


  1. Soak the dried porcini for the sauce in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain, reserving the soaking water, and chop.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan with the butter, and fry the onion and chilli briefly. Add the crumbled sausage and porcini, and fry and stir for 8-10 minutes. Add the wine and then cook for a further 2 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated. Add the tomato and rosemary and cook for another 10 minutes on a low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and if more moisture is needed, add some of the porcini soaking water.
  3. Meanwhile cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water for about 10-15 minutes or until al dente (follow the packet instructions). Drain well. Mix with the sauce and divide between deep warmed plates. Sprinkle with the cheese and eat straightaway. 


Obviously the sauce would go with any spaghetti or other long pasta, or indeed with penne. If you leave the sausage in larger chunks, the sauce would be good served with polenta. Luganega sausages are available from good butchers or delicatessens.


Pennoni Giardiniera (giant quills with courgette sauce and spinach balls)

Serves 4

I have to include this recipe, because it has become very well known, at least in Carluccio's Restaurants. Some years ago the personnel at the Ealing Carluccio's asked me if I could create a vegetarian dish with pasta. I went immediately to the kitchen, where I found enough courgettes and spinach to make a dish, matched them with pennoni (large pasta tubes from Puglia), and this is it. It has been on the Carluccio's menu since then, and each time it is ordered, it collects 50p for charity. It has been so successful that in those eight intervening years it has collected almost a million pounds!

giant quills with courgette and spinach balls


300g dried giant penne pasta, known as pennoni
salt and pepper, to taste
40g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated 

For the spinach balls:

600g young spinach leaves
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
tip of a knife of freshly grated nutmeg
50g fresh breadcrumbs
100ml white wine
20g Parmesan, freshly grated
olive oil for shallow frying 

For the sauce:

4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 little fresh red chilli, not too hot, finely chopped
300g grated courgette


  1. Prepare the spinach balls first by cooking the spinach leaves in salted water for a few minutes. Scoop out and leave to cool down. When cool, squeeze out most of the moisture and chop the leaves with a knife, but not too small. Then mix in a bowl with the eggs, garlic, nutmeg, breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Make some balls the size of a large walnut and shallow-fry in oil until they start to brown on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water for 12-15 minutes or until al dente. Drain. (Pennoni are large, so need a longer cooking time.)
  3. Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat the oil in a large saucepan, and add the garlic, chilli and courgette to the pan. Cook quickly in the oil, about 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Mix the cooked pasta into the sauce, then divide between warmed plates. Sprinkle the top of each portion with Parmesan and place four or five spinach balls on top.


You could use paccheri or rigatoni instead of the pennoni.




Last updated: over 1 year ago