Italian food mantra and a new recipe from Gennaro Contaldo

Eating with the family has always been the pillar of Italian society.

When, if not at dinner time, can the family sit down and talk to each other about how the day went by?  We sit down around the table all together every evening and twice a day at the weekend when the children are not in school.

In Italy you learn to love food when you are little. Children’s nutrition has always been a priority, with children often getting better quality food than their parents. There is a strong opinion that to grow up well you need good food and there is no such a thing as “children’s food”!

You soon learn that food is one of those little big pleasures in life. Pasta is my mantra!

Italian family at the table

enjoying pasta

(As you can see my family are big spaghetti fans!)

To mix things up, today I am sharing a fresh and vibrant recipe from Italian celebrity chef Gennaro Contaldo (who I had the fortune to meet recently) made using “Bertolli with Butter”, a blend with butter and olive oil for a silky and smooth taste – delicious!

Farfalle pasta with peas and pancetta

Farfalle pasta with peas and pancetta

This pasta recipe has very simple ingredients: peas, pancetta (or bacon) and plenty of mint leaves that add a vibrant note to the dish. I have slightly modified the recipe and added a few stems of saffron which add a touch of colour to the dish and a deeper interesting flavour. I added these when the peas, mint leaves, salt and pepper were introduced.

cooking peas

My tip for this dish: for extra crunch, toast some breadcrumbs in a pan with a little olive oil and sprinkle them on your dish when serving it!

Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cook Time : 25 minutes

Mixing pasta

Adding parmesan cheese

Serve immediately with an extra sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Farfalle pasta with peas and pancetta

You can serve this with a tasty fish such as hake or with a fresh side salad.

This post is in collaboration with Bertolli.


14 thoughts on “Italian food mantra and a new recipe from Gennaro Contaldo

  1. Oh my gracious Alida, what a beautiful family you have!!!

    We always ate the same foods as the “grown-ups” but, when we had lots of company, the kids had to sit at their own table so the grown-ups could all eat together, lol…We had a small house:)

    It’s too bad that families don’t have as much time together at the dinner table. I do think family dinner time is making a comback though which is wonderful!

    Your pasta dish looks delicious Alida! It’s been so long since I’ve had Farfalle with Peas and Pancetta. I seem to remember that my father may have added anchovies but that may be a different pasta dish, lol…

    Thanks for sharing, Alida…


  2. Dear Alida,
    What a lovely post. Your family is so beautiful. Can’t believe how big your children are getting…I absolutely love your recipe of the bow ties and the peas. I make something like this and everyone loves it especially with the grated cheese on top. That just seems to add to the flavor and the taste. We did the same thing when we were children. You ate what everyone else ate and if you didn’t like it well, that was what dinner was…no questions asked. Besides we all ate together, except my dad..with the Italian Specialty Shop that he owned it was hard to keep a 9-5 hourly job. But when he was not working or on a special day we all ate together. Thanks for sharing..have a great weekend…my friend…
    Hugs Dottie 🙂


  3. Love this post Alida, especially your family photos enjoying mealtimes together as I was lucky enough to have done throughout my childhood. For starters it’s mamma’s unbeatable cooking and then it’s bonding with your family – it should never been ignored. Adore Gennaro Contaldo! Scrummy recipe and especially delicious now, made with fresh peas.


    1. I met Gennaro in London last year and he is such a fun person to be with! I love his recipes, simple and tasty.


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