Gennaro Contaldo, the friend and mentor of Jamie Oliver, is an Italian legend.

Brought up along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, Gennaro moved to London when he was 20. There, he teamed up with the late Antonio Carluccio to improve Italian cuisine in the UK, running Carluccio’s Neal Street Restaurant and his own Italian restaurant, Passione.

When a young Jamie Oliver came knocking on the door at Neal Street, Gennaro was initially reluctant to teach him. However, once he saw Jamie’s true talent, Gennaro took Jamie under his wing, becoming his mentor and later, his friend and business partner. The bond between the pair is so strong that Jamie even calls Gennaro his ‘London Dad’!

Nowadays, Gennaro works as part of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant group, where he develops recipes and trains chefs. You might also have seen him on television with Jamie in numerous programmes or alongside Carluccio in Two Greedy Italians. He has also published several cookbooks, including his latest title ‘Gennaro’s Fast Cook Italian’ which was published earlier this year.

In this book, Gennaro hopes to teach the public how to create delicious Italian dishes in 40 minutes or less. Each recipe uses beautiful fresh ingredients, resulting in a tasty meal that can be rustled up with minimal fuss.

Gennaro and his team were kind enough to share some recipes from his newest book with us for our readers to try out, so read on to see what Italian dishes we have in store!

Gennaro's Fast Cook Italian

Gennaro's Fast Cook Italian

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola and Pear

A quick and easy weeknight dinner recipe that can be whipped up in just ten minutes, this luxurious gnocchi dish will please anyone lucky enough to be at your dinner table- that's if you don't eat it all yourself first!

Credit: Kim Lightbody

Credit: Kim Lightbody

Chicken Saltimbocca with Fontina, Prosciutto and Sage

This chicken saltimbocca dish looks and tastes extremely impressive, but actually takes only 15 minutes to make! Try it with some pan-fried baby potatoes and green veg for an easy dinner party dish.

Credit: Kim Lightbody

Credit: Kim Lightbody

Filled Soft Amaretti

These amaretti biscuits are perfect to tuck into with a coffee after one of the delicious dishes above. Taking just 20 minutes to knock together, these biscuits are sure to become a favourite in your home.

Credit: Kim Lightbody

Credit: Kim Lightbody

Happy cooking! Let us know how these recipes work out for you in the comments below. 

You can read more about Gennaro on his website. You can also see more from him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.

Gennaro's Fast Cook Italian by Gennaro Contaldo is on sale now, RRP €28.00. Published by Pavilion Books, photography by Kim Lightbody.

Read more: Interview with Gennaro Contaldo

Read more: Italian recipes from Jamie Oliver