“Oh God, when you’re talking about pesto there must be thousands, I can’t really tell you how many,” exclaims Italian chef, Gennaro Contaldo. “You can make pesto out of almost anything!”

An easy way to experiment is with this citrus version, which uses oranges as well as basil, almonds, pistachios and olive oil for a refreshing paste. Contaldo pairs it with spirali, which has a slightly looser spiral than fusilli.

Spirali with citrus pesto (David Loftus/PA)
(David Loftus/PA)
Spirali with citrus pesto (David Loftus/PA)
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
Spirali pasta with citrus pesto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 615 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Sodium 121mg5%
Potassium 593mg17%
Carbohydrates 77g26%
Fiber 8g33%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 19g38%
Vitamin A 199IU4%
Vitamin C 36mg44%
Calcium 123mg12%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Spirali pasta with citrus pesto

A zingy quick, mid-week dinner
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 615kcal
Author: Gennaro Contaldo


  • Large saucepan
  • Food processor
  • Large bowl


  • 2 oranges peeled
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and left whole
  • 325 g spirali pasta
  • A large handful of basil leaves
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 50 g cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Zest of 1 orange to serve
  • Zest of 1 lemon to serve


  • 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 the boil and cook the spirali until al dente (check the instructions on your packet for cooking time).
  • Put the basil leaves, almonds, pistachio nuts, olive oil and the infused orange mixture into a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy.
  • Drain the spirali, mix with the citrus pesto and serve immediately, sprinkled with the orange and lemon zest.


Calories: 615kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 121mg | Potassium: 593mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 199IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 3mg

Gennaro’s Pasta Perfecto! by Gennaro Contaldo, photography by David Loftus, is published by Pavilion Books.

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