• Yield: Serves 4

This Sicilian-inspired pesto is quick to prepare, refreshing, and delicious, and can also be eaten cold, so leftovers are perfect for your lunchbox the next day. It makes a delicious topping for crostini, too, so it’s worth making plenty. You can store it in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze to use at another time.


  • 2 oranges

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole

  • 11 1/2 oz (325 g) spirali pasta

  • a large handful of basil leaves

  • 1/3 cup (1 3/4  oz/50 g) blanched almonds

  • Scant 1/2 cup (1 3/4  oz/50 g) shelled pistachios

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • sea salt

  • zest of 1 lemon, to serve

Gennaro's Pasta Perfecto! by Gennaro Contaldo


Zest one of the oranges and set aside the zest. Peel both oranges.

Using a sharp knife, segment the peeled oranges by cutting between the segment walls, discarding the pith but keeping any juice that collects.  Put the segments and juice into a large bowl. Add the capers, oregano, garlic, and a pinch of salt; stir to combine, and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. 

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook the spirali until al dente (check the instructions on your package for cooking time).

Put the basil leaves, almonds, pistachios, olive oil, and the infused orange mixture into a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. 

Drain the spirali, mix with the citrus pesto, and sprinkle with the orange and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Recipe excerpted from Gennaro's Pasta Perfecto!: The Essential Collection of Fresh and Dried Pasta Dishes. Copyright 2019 Interlink Publishing Group.