currabinny penne pasta recipe

Penne Pasta with Ham, Cabbage, Wild Garlic Pesto and Pickled Walnut Recipe

The Currabinny Cookbook has fast become our go to solution for quick and easy dinners, and this penne pasta recipe is no different. Easy to make and big on flavour, we’re all over it.

Speaking about the recipe, James and William from Currabinny say: “This is another variation – an elevation, we go so far as to say! – of bacon and cabbage. Leftover ham is one of the most useful things you can have in your fridge. It’s unbeatable here paired with its traditional companion – cabbage – and a garlicky pesto. Wild garlic pops up everywhere in early spring; make a big batch of this pesto when it’s in season and you’ll use it year round.”

Serves 2

You will need:

200g penne pasta
 1 tablespoon butter
 olive oil
 1 savoy cabbage, shredded

100g cooked ham, or speck, prosciutto or pancetta

1 pickled walnut, sliced grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

For the pesto

75g wild garlic, stalks removed

30g fresh flat-leaf parsley, stalks removed

∙ Huice of ½ a lemon

80ml rapeseed oil, plus extra to seal the jar

30g Parmesan cheese, grated

30g walnuts

 Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Put the ingredients for the pesto into a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste. Decant into a sterilized jar and pour a little rapeseed oil over the top to seal. Refrigerate until needed (it will keep this way for 2 weeks).
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the penne and cook according to the packet instructions.
  3. Meanwhile, put the butter and a drop of olive oil into a large, heavy-based frying pan on a medium heat and add the shredded cabbage. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook the cabbage for 3 to 4 minutes until wilted,* then tear in the ham and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add a little of the pasta water if it looks dry.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the wild garlic pesto and stir
to combine, then cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
When the pasta is cooked, drain in a colander and add to the pan, stirring the sauce into the pasta until it is all well coated. Serve with a few slices of pickled walnut
on top, and offer some extra grated Parmesan.*We would usually cook the cabbage so that it’s softer and less crisp than the cabbage in the photograph. You can cook it to taste.


Taken from The Currabinny Cookbook by James Kavanagh & William Murray (Penguin Randomhouse)  

READ: Rye pancake recipe from The Currabinny Cookbook