Good Morning America Recipes

Mario Batali's Pennette with Spicy Sicilian Pesto

A Spicy Summer Entree

The chef and the actor whip up some budget-friendly Italian recipes.
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: min

This recipe is a delicious take on a traditional pesto.

Click here for more information on Food Bank for New York City.


  • 2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 serrano chilies, cored, and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ¼ cup sliced blanched almonds
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup plus ¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Siciliano
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ pounds pennette pasta
  • Cooking Directions

    Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot.

    Place the basil, mint, garlic, chilies, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, and almonds in a food processor and pulse three times to start the chopping process. Add in the oil in a thin stream and pulse four or five times to create a thick paste (not a thin, oily sauce). Add ¼ cup of the cheese and pulse once to mix it in. Season the pesto with salt if it needs it.

    Place 1 cup of the pesto in a large warmed salad bowl.

    Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water. Drop the pennette into the water and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions indicate. Just before it is done, carefully ladle ¼ cup of the cooking water into the bowl containing the pesto.

    Drain the pasta in a colander, dump into the bowl. Toss it gently with the pesto, like tossing a salad, for about 30 seconds, until the pasta is nicely coated. Serve with a scant dusting to f the remaining cheese over each portion.

    Recipe courtesy Molto Batali.

    This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for Good Morning America.

    Recipe Summary

    Main Ingredients: mint, garlic, basil, pecorino romano, black pepper

    Course: Side Dish

    More Info: Kids Friendly

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