Recipe Cima Alla Genovese – a classic from Liguria

Recipe Cima Alla Genovese
Cima alla Genovese – © Daniele Marini

Recipe Cima Alla Genovese: was born as a poor man’s dish. Nowadays, it is enriched with sophisticated flavors and bright colors.

Since in Liguria there are no cattle farms, the topology of the land doesn’t lend itself to pasture.

Therefore traditionally, red meat was precious, and nobody ever wasted it.


2 lbs. butt tenderloin
3 cups white wine
One celery stalk
One carrot
One small onion
Two cloves
7 oz. tuna in oil
Six anchovy fillets
Two egg yolks, hard-boiled
Two lemons, one squeezed, one thinly sliced
2 cup oil
Two tbs. capers
One tbs. white vinegar

Recipe Cima Alla Genovese: How to make it

First, soak the mushrooms in warm water for a few minutes and chop them.
Then soak the bread in cold water.
In the meantime, squeeze to remove excess water.
Make an incision in the veal breast, thus creating a pocket closed on three sides.

To make the stuffing, brown all the meat, except the veal breast, in butter, then grind it coarsely. Mix the meat with the pistachio and pine nuts, Parmigiano, and eggs. Add the mushrooms, peas, marjoram, chopped garlic, and bread to the meat mixture. Add salt, pepper, a little grated nutmeg, and mix well.

To stuff the breast, fill the veal breast with the stuffing. It should not be more than 2/3 full. Sew the opening closed with a needle and colorless thread, and prick the meat with a large needle not to burst while cooking. If possible, wrap the meat tightly in a piece of cheesecloth and sew it closed.

Place the celery, carrot, and diced onion in a large pot with the broth.
Turn on the heat, but do not boil. Instead, add the meat to the pan and cook over low heat for about 3 hours.
Further, add salt halfway through cooking.
After that, remove the stuffed veal breast and place it on a chopping board.
Then, place a heavy-weight plate on the meat and let the cima alla Genovese cool completely.
Let rest for at least 2 hours. Serve sliced with a salad or other cold-cut meats. Cima alla Genovese keeps for a few days in the refrigerator.

Serves 4-6

Recipe Cima Alla Genovese – comments

Comment from Daniele, a passionate amateur cook with strong Ligurian ties:

Unlikely recipe.

Vegetables, typically peas, are missing. It was spring food, and the tuna oil was never seen! It is not Ligurian, perhaps Sicilian or Sardinian, even if in Liguria, there are olive trees.

For example, I put green beans and some cabbage leaves if I don’t have peas. It is fundamental to put sweetbreads in the filling, I do not like them, and I replace them with mortadella, cooked ham.

A handful of pine nuts or pistachios are essential for perfumes. And we must add marjoram and thyme in the filling. So I put marjoram also in the cooking broth.

Cima Alla Genovese is a Regional recipe from Liguria.

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
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and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
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