Passione by Gennaro Contaldo

Genarro Contaldo is the Italian legend who taught Jamie Oliver all he knows about Italian cooking and who Jamie has affectionately started referring to as his London dad.

Genarro was born just feet away from the sea on Italy's stunning Amalfi coast. As a child, he was taught by his parents how to seek out wild food free-diving for oysters, foraging for wild mushrooms, and often missed school to go fishing.

This adventurous spirit lived on throughout Gennaro's career in food as a chef, food writer, TV personality, and restaurateur. This was all reflected in this first, glorious collection of his favorite Italian recipes, Passione in 2003. Last year, Interlink Publishing reissued this beautiful book in the US under the title Passione: Simple, Seductive Recipes for Lovers of Italian Food (and in the UK Pavilion under the title, Gennaro's Passione: The Classic Italian Cookery Book.)

This cookbook features photographs from Gennaro's childhood, alongside stunning food and travel photography. Over 100 recipes, and delightful personal recollections, share the secrets of Gennaro's love affair with Italian food and will inspire cooks of all abilities to taste the true flavors of the Italian coastline.  

Stuffed beef rolls in tomato ragu, Stuffed fava bean cakes, and an Amalfi lemon tart are a few examples of the dishes herein. The Chicken bites wrapped in pancetta and sage with a cider vinegar dressing were easy and delicious. I have the Bread with salami, cheese and eggs on my must make list as well.

We are grateful to Interlink Publishing for sharing the recipe for Potato gnocchi with our members and for providing two copies of this book in our contest below to our US members. Special thanks to Pavilion for offering one copy to our members in the UK. 


Potato gnocchi filled with asparagus with a butter and balsamic sauce
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If you like potato gnocchi, these are a real treat. I have used asparagus as my filling, because I find it fresh and light, but you could use a variety of ingredients-peas, fava beans, mixed vegetables, meat, mushrooms ... As long as the ingredients are very finely chopped, cooked, and mixed with a little grated Parmesan, you have a filling.

The sauce I have chosen is a classic butter and sage one, but I have added a few drops of balsamic vinegar to finish. I find the balsamic cuts the richness of the gnocchi and imparts a characteristic tangy flavor.

serves 4

  • 9 oz/250 g floury potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
  • 1 cup and 2 tbsp/5 oz/150 g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2½ tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • salt

for the filling:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large scallion, finely chopped
  • 4 large asparagus spears, peeled and finely chopped (tough ends discarded) salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup/60 ml water
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • for the sauce:
  • 4 tbsp/2 oz/50 g butter
  • a handful of fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • a drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Place the unpeeled potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted water, bring to a boil, and simmer until tender. Keeping the potatoes whole like this means they don't absorb water; if you prefer, you can bake them in the oven.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the filling. Prepare the zucchini (see page 60) and then chop the green part very finely. Heat the olive oil in a small pan, add the scallion, and sweat until softened. Then add the asparagus and zucchini, and sauté over medium heat for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper, add the water, and simmer for a few minutes, until the vegetables are tender but still a little crunchy. Place the filling mixture in a bowl, leave to cool, and then stir in the Parmesan.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and leave to cool. Peel and discard the skin and mash the potatoes (preferably using a potato ricer, or "Italian masher," since this gives a much smoother mash).

Place the mashed potatoes in a large bowl with the flour and cornstarch. Add the eggs and some salt and mix well until you get a smooth but slightly sticky dough. Place on a floured work surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into a thin sheet about 1 /s in/ 3 mm thick. Cut into rounds with a 2 in/5 cm pastry cutter. Place a teaspoonful of the filling in the center of half of the rounds. Cover with the remaining rounds and press down the edges with your fingers to seal. Re-roll the trimmings to make more gnocchi.

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and drop in the gnocchi. At first, they will sink; as they come up to the surface, cook for a further 2 minutes (remember these are filled gnocchi and much thicker than normal ones, so they need a little longer to cook through).

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, add the sage leaves, and mix in the Parmesan. As the gnocchi are done, drain and place in the butter sauce. Mix together well. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the top and serve.

From Passione © Gennaro Contaldo 2017


The publisher is offering two copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and one copy in the UK. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on May 17th, 2018.


  • lean1  on  3/31/2018 at 2:14 PM

    Baked Pasta with cheese is my favorite. I would love to try this version.

  • rchesser  on  3/31/2018 at 5:00 PM

    Amalfi lemon tart (Torta di limone).

  • ravensfan  on  3/31/2018 at 6:44 PM

    Tagliolini with black truffle (Tagliolini al tartufo nero)

  • lauriesk  on  3/31/2018 at 6:56 PM

    I would try the Arancini di Riso

  • Scotsman61  on  3/31/2018 at 10:27 PM

    Potato gnocchi filled with asparagus with a butter and balsamic sauce

  • contest718  on  4/1/2018 at 8:00 AM

    Wow literally so many things in this book I would love to make. I couldn't make it past the 1st page without getting 3 recipes very quickly. Tagliatelle with tuna, lemon and arugula, Basic pasta dough, Eggless fresh pasta, oh and the one from the write up the potato gnocci. Yummo!

  • vickster  on  4/1/2018 at 8:17 AM

    duck breasts in limoncello

  • mpdeb98  on  4/1/2018 at 8:39 AM

    Semifreddo of almonds and white chocolate

  • LaurenE  on  4/1/2018 at 1:59 PM

    Arancini di Riso

  • Shelley.b  on  4/1/2018 at 3:33 PM

    Amalfi lemon tart

  • matag  on  4/1/2018 at 5:23 PM

    Duck breasts in limoncello

  • Laura1  on  4/1/2018 at 6:53 PM

    I've never made pasta before so I think I'd try the basic pasta dough first.

  • Jenamarie  on  4/2/2018 at 9:30 AM

    Penne with mushrooms, shrimp and saffron (Penne con funghi, gamberi e zafferano)

  • sarahawker  on  4/2/2018 at 10:24 AM

    Pasta dumplings served with fresh tomato and basil sauce

  • kmn4  on  4/2/2018 at 11:18 AM

    Fresh mint panna cotta drizzled with honey (Panna cotta con menta fresca)

  • Kduncan  on  4/2/2018 at 3:50 PM

    Farfalle with peas, pancetta and ricotta (Farfalle con piselli, pancetta e ricotta)

  • sgump  on  4/2/2018 at 5:43 PM

    I agree with Jenamarie: the penne with mushrooms, shrimp and saffron (penne con funghi, gamberi e zafferano) sounds delicious!

  • sdg8trgrl  on  4/2/2018 at 5:52 PM

    Baked pasta shells filled with cheese

  • Karen.2018  on  4/2/2018 at 8:43 PM

    Mixed grilled vegetable and Parmesan rolls (Panini con verdure alla griglia e Parmigiano)

  • jmay42066  on  4/2/2018 at 8:56 PM

    Baked Pasta with cheese

  • lgroom  on  4/3/2018 at 1:07 PM

    The penne with mushrooms, shrimp and saffron

  • amferrer  on  4/3/2018 at 2:47 PM

    Potato gnocchi filled with asparagus with a butter and balsamic sauce

  • ktwalla  on  4/3/2018 at 2:54 PM

    Slow Cooked Veal with Onions

  • DarcyVaughn  on  4/3/2018 at 9:39 PM

    limoncello and strawberry ice cream

  • RoseMGenuine  on  4/3/2018 at 10:04 PM

    Potato gnocchi with red and yellow pepper sauce

  • Lmocooks  on  4/4/2018 at 3:22 PM

    Limoncello and strawberry ice cream

  • EmilyR  on  4/5/2018 at 2:36 AM

    Ravioli filled with ricotta and lemon, served with butter and mint (Ravioli ripieni di ricotta e limone con salsa di burro e menta)

  • PattiK47  on  4/6/2018 at 3:00 PM

    Penne with mushrooms, shrimp and saffron

  • RSW  on  4/8/2018 at 9:57 AM

    Ravioli filled with potato, cheese and mint (Culurzones)

  • clairew137  on  4/8/2018 at 10:18 AM

    Pasta dumplings served with fresh tomato and basil sauce

  • Teruska  on  4/8/2018 at 5:24 PM

    Porchetta. I love charcuterie.

  • dmass  on  4/9/2018 at 12:00 PM

    Marinated beetroot

  • AnnaZed  on  4/14/2018 at 1:38 AM

    Pea and fresh mint soup (Zuppa di piselli e menta fresca)

  • shellee  on  4/15/2018 at 8:50 AM

    Mixed root vegetable soup :)

  • rachael_mc  on  4/15/2018 at 6:31 PM

    Trofie with pesto, green beans and potatoes (Trofie con pesto, fagilini e patate)

  • Karla123  on  4/15/2018 at 7:20 PM

    Sauté of mixed wild mushrooms...sounds simply delicious.

  • topdawg11  on  4/17/2018 at 3:18 PM

    Linguine with crab.

  • mreils  on  4/17/2018 at 8:51 PM

    The gnocchi looks wonderful. Can’t wait to try it.

  • robynsanyal  on  4/18/2018 at 1:31 PM

    Potato gnocchi with red and yellow pepper sauce

  • Coffeebean  on  4/20/2018 at 7:09 PM

    Baked pasta with cheese

  • kristinagiuliani  on  4/20/2018 at 8:42 PM

    Amalfi lemon tart

  • t.t  on  4/20/2018 at 9:06 PM

    Tagliatelle with tuna, lemon and arugula (Tagliatelle con tonno, limone e rucola)

  • Julia  on  4/21/2018 at 12:15 AM

    Southern Italian risotto with vegetables

  • sequoia55  on  4/21/2018 at 12:54 AM

    Marinated beetroot

  • PeavineBlues  on  4/21/2018 at 8:12 AM


  • tararr  on  4/21/2018 at 11:31 AM

    Panini con verdure alla griglia e Parmigiano

  • RickPearson54  on  4/22/2018 at 9:28 AM


  • jim.windle  on  4/22/2018 at 12:32 PM

    Jumbo shrimp and crab with garlic and chili

  • ktpotat  on  4/22/2018 at 6:06 PM

    The one you gave the recipe of sounds amazing potato Gnocchi filled with asparagus.

  • shaunterria  on  4/23/2018 at 10:13 AM

    Amalfi lemon tart

  • Siegal  on  4/24/2018 at 11:06 AM

    Limoncello and strawberry ice cream sounds amazing

  • Nancith  on  4/24/2018 at 7:44 PM

    Potato & Tuscan kale bake

  • love2chow  on  4/25/2018 at 11:19 AM

    Amalfi lemon tart (Torta di limone) (page 184)

  • VeryVigario  on  4/25/2018 at 9:19 PM

    Basic polenta with cheese... i know that sounds overly simple, but my grandmother used to make the best polenta with cheese, and I'd love to try to find something comparable to her recipe <3

  • PeavineBlues  on  4/26/2018 at 7:24 AM

    Seafood gnocchi

  • Radley  on  4/26/2018 at 7:41 AM

    Basic Risotto I will start on the basics and work my way up

  • lpatterson412  on  4/26/2018 at 2:12 PM


  • Katiefayhutson  on  4/27/2018 at 10:29 PM

    Semifreddo of almond and white chocolate

  • Dannausc  on  4/28/2018 at 6:08 AM


  • hibeez  on  4/28/2018 at 8:16 AM

    Tagliatelle with mixed mushrooms (Tagliatelle con funghi misti)

  • MiMi60  on  4/28/2018 at 9:17 PM

    Ravioli filled with potato, cheese and mint (Culurzones)

  • sywcindy  on  5/1/2018 at 3:41 AM

    Fresh mint panda cotta drizzled with honey

  • motherofpearl81  on  5/1/2018 at 11:45 AM

    Ravioli filled with ricotta and lemon, served with butter and mint (Ravioli ripieni di ricotta e limone con salsa di burro e menta)

  • Ishtar  on  5/2/2018 at 12:09 PM

    Penne with mushroom, prawn and saffron

  • TrishaCP  on  5/6/2018 at 7:30 AM

    Chicken bites wrapped in pancetta

  • auntietina  on  5/9/2018 at 12:06 AM

    Duck breasts in limoncello

  • catmommy9  on  5/13/2018 at 6:24 PM

    Penne with mushrooms, shrimp and saffron

  • marsmomma  on  5/15/2018 at 9:36 PM

    Fresh borlotti bean soup (Zuppa di borlotti)

  • littleminxgirl  on  5/17/2018 at 10:43 PM

    The gnocchi sounds so good. I love gnocchi

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