Parmigiano Reggiano event with Gennaro Contaldo

I just LOVE Italian food and chefs so when I won the competition via Parmigiano Reggiano to learn how to cook Italian dishes via Gennaro Contaldo and eat Parmigiano Reggiano within London’s Eataly it was a dream come true.

Parmigiano Reggiano even though it comes from Italy is used all over the world as it is a very famous, popular and very tasty cheese. It is believed that Parmigiano Reggiano was produced back as far as 1254 by Benedictine monks, whom lived in Parma Reggio region of Italy. They created the cheese when they needed to find a way to extend the shelf-life of the large quantity of milk they were producing from their cattle.

As this was a very special event to flagship about Parmigiano Reggiano, Gennaro Contaldo a very well known Italian chef was bought in to talk us through about this wonderful cheese, and teach us a few tasty recipes using Parmigiano Reggiano.

Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano is an aged cheese which comes from Italy’s region of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua and Bologna. Only using certain approved ingredients.

Watch how Parmigiano Reggiano is made:

Simply it’s made from milk which is poured into the traditional upturned bell-shaped copper vats which then naturally coagulates with the addition of rennet and a whey starter, rich in starter cultures. Then cooked, skimmed and wrapped in linen cloth.

Discover more about Parmigiano Reggiano click here.

Eating Parmigiano Reggiano and cooking with Gennaro

Heading on down to Eataly I knew I was going to be in for a treat as not only would I be enjoying chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano, but I will also be learning how to cook a few dishes with it by well known Italian chef Gennaro Contaldo.

Gennaro Contaldo is an Italian chef who is known for his association with British protégé, Jamie Oliver, and his partnership with fellow Italian chef late Antonio Carluccio in which they hosted together Two Greedy Italians. Plus he has made appearances on a numerous host of other television shows.

Apart from television Gennaro has a number of cookbooks out in which his cookbook Passione was awarded ‘Best Italian Restaurant 2005’ at the Tio Pepe Restaurant Awards. He has also won some breaking records from making a three egg omelette within 16.36 seconds on Saturday Morning Kitchen. Plus back in 2014 he was awarded a Guinness World Record for the most ravioli made in two minutes.

Heading on into Liverpool Street, London I headed towards Eataly which is on the corner. Eataly is full of high-quality Italian food which is sustainable and reasonably priced. Inside Eataly you shop, but also eat and learn. As they have areas for shopping be it cheese or wine, restaurants where you can enjoy an Italian feast or a slice of cake and even a classroom to learn an array of cookery skills from highly qualified chefs and celebrity chefs at times.

Time for a taste of Italy

Heading on into the classroom I was greeted with a class of wine and we were given a talk through all about Parmigiano Reggiano which was really interesting.

For one did you know for cheese to be classified as Parmigiano Reggiano, it must come from the particular regions in Italy and contain only certain approved ingredients. Parmigiano Reggiano is also aged at least one year and up to three years. Where as Parmesan, on the other hand, is not regulated, and may be aged as little as 10 months.

Gennaro then talked us through in what we will be making with the Parmigiano Reggiano. Each dish sounded amazing and all ended up being quite simple and quick to make which is a plus as it means if I wanted I could remake this easily at home. I Just need a pasta machine.

Before cooking with the Parmigiano Reggiano I got to sample three aged versions of the cheese of 18 month, 24 month and 32 month. Each tasted amazing. The longer it has matured for the stronger it was.

Then it was onto cooking. I got to learn how to make Fresh Lemon Tagliatelle as well as a Seabass Potato Bake thanks to Gennaro.

Tagliatelle makes 4 servings


  • 200g 00 pasta flour
  • 2 x eggs


  1. Place flour in a large bowl or clean work surface, make a well in the centre and break in the eggs.
  2. With a fork or your hands, gradually mix the flour with the eggs until well amalgamated.
  3. Knead with your hands until you obtain a soft, smooth dough. Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and leave for about 30 minutes or until ready to use.
  4. Divide the pasta into 4 portions and put through a pasta machine starting at the highest setting. Continue to roll the pasta through the machine turning down the settings as you go until you get to number 1 and the dough is almost wafer-thin.
  5. Then change attachments on the pasta machine for the tagliatelle part and put through your pasta.

Fresh Lemon Tagliatelle for 4


  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ red chilli, finely chopped
  • Parsley, handful finely chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 1 lemon zest & juice
  • 20g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated & extra for sprinkling
  • 320g fresh tagliatelle
  • Salt


  1. Place a large saucepan of salted water on the heat, bring to the boil and add the tagliatelle and cook until “al dente.”
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, add garlic & chilli and sweat on a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add a ladleful of the pasta water, add the butter and allow to melt, add lemon juice. With a pair of tongs, add the cooked tagliatelle to the frying pan, mix well. Stir in parmesan and parsley. Serve immediately with freshly grated parmiand lemon zest.

Boy it just shows how using fresh pasta makes a difference as this was a delicious, fresh tasting dish, with the lemons giving it that great zesty citrus hit, chilli that little hit of heat and the Parmigiano Reggiano that lovely cheese flavour.

Plus top tip from Gennaro when it comes to using chilli.

That is how to tell if your chilli will have a lot of heat behind it.

Seabass & Potato Bake with Parmigiano Reggiano serves 4


  • 750g waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Butter
  • 10 sage leaves, roughly shredded
  • 500g seabass fillets, thinly sliced
  • 30g grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade (fan oven.)
  2. Place the potato slices in a pan of water, bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes, remove, drain well and dry on kitchen cloth.
  3. Grease an ovenproof dish with butter and line with some potato slices, scatter some sage leaves, dot with a little butter and sprinkle some salt & pepper. Place over some seabass and sprinkle with a little grated parmesan. Cover with potato slices and continue making layers like these until all the ingredients have been used up finishing with grated parmesan.
  4. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake for around 10 minutes until nice and golden on top.

A real nice comforting dish. What I loved about this dish though is the easiness of it and how unlike fish pies you only use one fish so much more cost effective as well.

All the dishes were super easy to make and ever so tasty but we were reminded by Gennaro that Parmigiano Reggiano is also great eating on it’s own, with crackers as part of your cheeseboard selection or pair with wine or chocolate.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

What was awesome about this event was not only did I get to eat plenty of Parmigiano Reggiano, but I got to also learn two delicious recipes from the lovely Italian chef Gennaro himself.

Gennaro made making pasta easy, providing us with some great advice and tips. Like for example ingredient quality matters so always try and purchase the best, colour of the eggs to your yolk can make a difference and boil pasta in boiling water with a pinch sea salt, cook pasta al dente as will taste better and will be easier to digest.

Each of the dishes we got to make were super easy to make, do not contain lots of ingredients, not long to cook and super tasty. So if you love lemon pasta or seabass even then I highly recommend making the dishes yourself as you will see just how easy it is to make and how delicious they were.

Parmigiano Reggiano buy yours

Consortium of the cheese Parmigiano Reggiano
Tel: +39 0522 307741

Discover more recipes using Parmigiano Reggiano click here

Discover ways to pair your Parmigiano Reggiano click here

Parmigiano Reggiano can be purchased at Eataly and easily accessible from most supermarkets.

Thanks to Brand Dialogue, Parmigiano Reggiano and Gennaro for a fabulous afternoon of cooking and eating.

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