Carluccio’s Penne Giardiniera (Penne With Deep Fried Spinach Balls) Recipe

Posted on August 4th, 2011 in Recipes by Stephanie

One of my favourite Italian restaurants in London is Carluccio’s. It is a chain restaurant throughout London and the UK and all the dishes that I’ve tried so far have been absolutely scrummy! Each branch of the restaurant also has their own delicatessen shop selling all sorts of Italian cooking ingredients as well as delicious freshly made pastries, bread and cakes!

Carluccio’s Delicatessen Shop

The thing about me is that once I discover a dish in a restaurant that I really like, I tend to order the same thing every time I go to that particular restaurant. In Carluccio’s I find myself ordering the Penne Giardiniera without fail every time. Penne Giardiniera is basically penne pasta with garlic, chilli, cheese and butter together with deep fried spinach balls and courgette. Sound good? Well now you can make it yourself with the recipe that Carluccio’s uses that I found on their website!

Serves 4

Ingredients for the spinach balls:
700g raw spinach (about 250g when cooked)
half a clove of garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
a tiny pinch of nutmeg
45g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
70g dry breadcrumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
olive oil for shallow frying

Ingredients for the pasta:
500g Carluccio’s Penne Regine (large artisan penne from Puglia)
80g butter
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
20g red chillies, finely chopped
2 medium courgettes, coarsely grated
240g Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated

To make 28 spinach balls (7 per person):
Boil, but don’t overcook, the spinach in lightly salted water. Press it dry, break open the leaves and tear apart roughly. In a bowl, mix together the torn spinach, garlic, egg, nutmeg and Parmesan. Add about half of the breadcrumbs, to balance the moisture of the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Roll one ball and fry it, to test for consistency and taste. (If the mixture is too wet, the ball will fall apart during cooking, but too much bread content will lessen the spinach flavour.) Add some more breadcrumbs or seasoning if needed. Fry until golden. Set aside.

To make the pasta:
In abundant salted water, boil the pasta until it’s al dente, perhaps 10-15 minutes. Drain and keep warm. In a pan, melt the butter and heat the garlic and chillies. Add the grated courgettes and fry for a minute or two. Add the cooked pasta and toss in most of the grated cheese (leave some for serving). Season with salt and pepper.

To serve:
In a deep plate or shallow bowl, serve the pasta sprinkled with spinach balls and the remaining Parmesan.

Carluccio’s Penne Giardiniera Pasta

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Comment by new era
2011-08-04 13:39:16

It looks very nice! Yummy!

2011-08-05 07:48:49

I also tend to order for a good food from a restaurant again and again. But its really better if we can find a recipe on how to cook or make the food we’re craving to save some bucks. Your recipe really looks delicious. I’ll try this out and hopefully I make it right ^^

Comment by Steve
2011-08-07 17:05:20

this sounds really delicious! but there is some work to do before 😉 i think i’ll give it a try – thanks for sharing.

Comment by HotelCrow Martin
2011-08-08 02:25:49

Thanks for the recipe, I was just looking for something tasty for lunch :)

Hope recent turmoil in London didn’t affect you much, it’s such a shame!

2011-08-08 10:41:55

That sounds very delicious, and natural and healthy too. A bit time consuming to prepare, I think though it will be worth it.

2011-08-09 05:18:42

spinach ball I have so far dosent came across this one is this an food eating item ?

2011-08-09 14:07:15

Hi Steph, looks like we share the same habit. I also order the same dish every time and even order a delivery to study the dish :) Great job with your personalized penne garlic pasta.

2011-08-09 14:25:56

I love Italian cuisine. I tried several Italian restaurants in Los Angeles and they got there own version of their Italian recipes. Perhaps chefs have different style of cooking. They remain Italian as for the ingredients and food culture.

Comment by dcs training india
2011-08-17 13:17:51

spinach ball very nice and yummy

Comment by Reduction
2011-08-22 11:34:38

looking very yummy. I think I found my new best spot 😉

2011-09-02 08:18:18

I simply love the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in this recipe. opps I forgot I did not serve it with the spinach balls cause my little siblings enjoyed eating it.

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