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Long Fusilli pasta with pesto Calabrese

A creamy pesto recipe with a spicy kick from Calabria that's quick and easy to make and full of Southern Italian flavour!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Calabria, Italian, Southern Italian
Keyword: calabrese, Calabria, fusilli, pesto, pesto pasta
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono


  • 400 g long fusilli (14oz) (I used De Cecco)
  • 250 g fresh ricotta (sheep's milk or cow's milk) (9oz)
  • 100 g Pecorino cheese (3.5oz) grated
  • 4 vine tomatoes (or 6-8 datterini tomatoes)
  • 1 large red bell pepper or 2 small ones
  • 1 tropea onion peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1/2 tsp peperoncino flakes You can use more or less depending on your taste.
  • 1 pinch oregano
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • Put a pot of water onto boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil.
  • Prepare the vegetables. Peel and slice the onion, peel the garlic, cut the pepper and the tomatoes into pieces. 
  • Heat the oil In a large frying pan or skillet. Add the garlic clove and cook until starting to turn golden. Remove the garlic and add the red pepper and cook until it starts to soften then add the onion and continue cooking until it starts to become translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes let the vegetables cook until they are all soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove the vegetables from the pan, let them cool a little and liquidize them with their cooking juices in a food blender or processor. You need to get a smooth creamy consistency.
  • Add the ricotta and pulse a few times more.
  • Add the grated cheese and peperoncino flakes, mix again, and keep aside until ready to serve. Just before using the sauce add a pinch of oregano.
  • Cook the pasta al dente in the boiling salted water according to the instructions on the packet. When the pasta is ready, save a cup of the cooking water and strain it.
  • Return the pasta to the pan and add the sauce. Mix well. If you think the sauce is too dry, add some of the saved pasta cooking water.
  • Serve immediately with extra grated cheese and pepperoncino flakes as required.
  • I also served this dish with datterini tomatoes roasted with garlic for 10 minutes in a hot oven.


This recipe can be made with other types of pasta, although fusilli (long or short) pairs really well with it!
You can freeze this sauce or keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days covered in cling film.
This pesto is also delicious served as a dip or on bruschetta.