Zembi d’ Arzillo – Fish Ravioli

Zembi d’ Arzillo – Fish Ravioli

Fish Ravioli. There is a colorful and fresh Genoese expression that immediately gives an idea of the exquisite marine flavor of freshly caught fish: “arzillo du ma.”

However, not all fish, strictly speaking, could afford to possess this coveted quality fully, even if they are still hanging on the hook or alive in the net just pulled.
“Arzillo” is also the fine, floating green seaweed accompanying the rocks near the shore like a fleece.
Therefore, the shore and rockfish will assume their fragrant aromas, such as mullet, capon fish, and others.

An extended introduction to the RAVIOLI DI PESCE, a typical seafood dish, today instead of in disuse, no longer performed with the richness of the past.
The “zembi d’arzillo” is the delicious ravioli with a filling mainly made with the meat of fish – which taste like arzillo, of course.

The curious name of this preparation is, after all, simply a type of low-fat ravioli. It also takes us, once again, to oriental trails: “zembi” from the Arabic “zembil,” and that is a large basket made with the leaves of palm trees.
Therefore, a dish with the fullness of taste and form is clearly expressed.

Branzino Ravioli, with mullet sauce – Photo by Gianni Temossi, from iltigullio.it Facebook Group

Ingredients and servings (for 6 people)

for the filling

a bunch of borage
three endives
600 grams of fish flesh capon, red mullet, scorpion fish
four eggs
a handful of grated parmesan cheese
half a lemon
a tomato

For the pasta

half a kilo of flour
two eggs
lukewarm water

How to make Fish Ravioli – Zembi d’ Arzillo

Boil endives and borage for at least 5 minutes; squeeze them well.
Bring the fish to a boil in salted water, adding half a lemon.
Then remove the pulp, which you will brown for a few minutes in butter, with chopped parsley, marjoram and chopped garlic, after passing it through a vegetable mill.
Put it in a bowl and add the pureed vegetables, the beaten eggs and the cheese.
Adjust salt and pepper and mix very well.
Proceed normally to roll out the pastry and make the ravioli with the filling.
Cook them in abundant salted water.
Drain them and dress them with the sauce made from the heads and bones of the fish, with the addition of sieved tomato pulp.

Zembi d’ Arzillo – Fish Ravioli is a regional recipe from Liguria

Trippa alla genovese – Tripe Genovese


Trippa alla genovese – Tripe Genovese


1 Onion
1 Celery stalk
1 Carrot
Parsley (optional)
600 g Tripe already cut into strips
300 g Potatoes or 4 potatoes in chunks
200 g Tomato pulp
100 g White wine
q.b.Salt flavored with Mediterranean herbs to taste


Food processor
Wooden spoon
Strainer / Colander

How to make Trippa alla genovese -Tripe alla Genovese

First, ask the tripe shop or your butcher to cut the tripe into strips. If you use supermarket tripe, it will already be cut.
Wash the tripe in a colander under running water. Drain well.
Put three tablespoons of EVO oil in an earthenware casserole (or a steel pot) and brown the previously chopped flavors.
Add the tripe and let it season for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the flavored salt (or regular salt and add sage and rosemary to the initial chopped mixture), pepper, and sprinkle with a glass of dry white wine.
Let the wine evaporate, and add the beans and tomato puree.
When it boils, lower the heat and leave to cook for 1 hour, first with a lid and in the last minutes without.
Just before turning off the heat, adjust the salt and add, if you like, a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

Types of tripe

The rumen is also known as tripe, belly, cross, crucetta or busecca
The reticulum is also commonly referred to as a cap, butt, honeycomb, sonnet, Bonetta, or Berretta.
The omasum is formed by a bag with many lamellae and is also commonly called foglietto, foiolo, centopelli, libro mille fogli or millepieghe.
The abomasum is the last of the four cavities of the stomach of ruminants and is commonly called frasame, lampredotto, ariccia, riccioletta, tranciata, arrangiata, spannocchia.

Trippa alla genovese – Tripe Genovese is a regional recipe from Liguria


Mescciüa (typical Ligurian soup) – Pampuco CC BY-SA 4.0

Mescciüa, also written mesc-ciüa, is a traditional dish of La Spezia’s cuisine.


In the dialect of La Spezia, the term “mesc-ciüa” means “mixture” and derives from the circumstance that the soup was traditionally prepared in the area of the port by fishermen with ingredients chosen at random and mixed.

Its origin dates back to the fourteenth century in the villages of the west coast of the Gulf of Poets.
Others trace the recipe to when unloaders in La Spezia were paid in kind at the end of the day. They often received what was “leftover” from the unloading and embarkation of the ships. It often happened that the sacks of grains or legumes were opened or broken, and so, at the end of the day, the workers took home a little bit of everything they had recovered to make a soup.


  • cereals
  • dried beans
  • wheat
  • chickpeas
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • peppercorns

How to prepare Mescciüa

A typical dish of the so-called “Cucina Povera” (poor cuisine), mescciüa, is a soup made of legumes and cereals, previously soaked in water (dried beans and wheat for at least 24 hours, chickpeas for 48 hours) and then boiled with different cooking times. The ingredients are then blended in a single dish, seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and peppercorns.

Mescciüa, also written mesc-ciüa, is a traditional dish of La Spezia’s cuisine.


Tipica pietanza della cosiddetta “cucina povera”, la mescciüa è una zuppa di legumi e cereali, preventivamente lasciati macerare in acqua (per almeno 24 ore i fagioli secchi e il grano, per 48 ore i ceci) e successivamente fatti bollire con tempi di cottura differenti. I diversi ingredienti vengono poi uniti in un’unica pietanza, condita con olio extravergine d’oliva e pepe in grani.


La sua origine sembra risalire al XIV secolo nei borghi della costa occidentale del Golfo dei Poeti.
Altri invece fanno risalire la ricetta a quando, gli scaricatori occasionali del porto della Spezia, venivano pagati in natura a fine giornata, spesso con ciò che “avanzava” dalle operazioni di sbarco e imbarco delle navi. Accadeva spesso, infatti, che si aprissero o si rompessero i sacchi di granaglie o di legumi e così, a fine giornata, i lavoranti si portavano a casa un po’ di tutto quello che si era recuperato per farne una zuppa.


  • legumi
  • cereali
  • fagioli secchi
  • grano
  • ceci
  • olio extravergine d’oliva
  • pepe in grani

Come preparare la Mescciüa

Nel dialetto spezzino il termine “mesc-ciüa” significa “mescolanza” e deriva dalla circostanza che la zuppa era tradizionalmente preparata nella zona del porto dai pescatori con ingredienti scelti in maniera del tutto casuale e mescolati tra loro.

Un piatto tipico della cosiddetta “Cucina Povera”, la mescciüa, è una zuppa di legumi e cereali, precedentemente messi a bagno in acqua (fagioli e grano secchi per almeno 24 ore, ceci per 48 ore) e poi bolliti con diversi tempi di cottura. Gli ingredienti vengono poi amalgamati in un unico piatto, conditi con olio extravergine di oliva e pepe in grani.

La mescciüa, scritto anche mesc-ciüa è un piatto tradizionale della cucina spezzina.

Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods – Made in the USA

The final result os Fritto Misto made in the USA – Silviadc.

Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods – Made in the USA

Many fish varieties, usually included in a typical Italian Fritto Misto, are not readily available in the USA. However, you can have a fritto misto without these ingredients. The images below illustrate the preparation of such a stir fry Fritto Misto made in Washington DC.

Zucchini blossoms from the Farmer’s market – Silviadc.


  • 6 zucchini blossoms
  • zucchini
  • calamari
  • eggplants
  • flour
  • milk
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt
Calamari cleaned, ready to be fried- Silviadc.

How to make Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods – Made in the USA

Cut zucchini and eggplant into thick strips. Keep the zucchini blossoms and mushroom caps whole. Dip each piece into the beaten eggs, pat the food to get rid of excess flour, and set aside.

Zucchini blossoms are frying – Siviadc.

Fry each of the food separately, as they require different cooking times. When golden brown on both sides, remove from frying pan and place on paper towels.

For calamari and squid, use just flour.

How to make the Fried Zucchini Flowers

Mix the flour with two spoons of oil, white wine, egg yolk, salt, and pepper.

Add as much lukewarm water as needed to make a smooth batter that is not too thick. Set aside to rest for half an hour. Meanwhile, clean the flowers, remove the pistil and stems. Whip the egg white and gently incorporate it into the batter. Dip the flowers in the batter, drain them and fry them in a large frying pan with plenty of hot oil. With the help of the perforated paddle, remove the fried flowers, dry them on absorbent paper, salt and serve immediately.

When all the frying is finished, arrange the various pieces of food on a serving platter. Salt to taste. Serve very hot.

Speed is of utmost importance in a fritto misto, and the amount will vary according to the number of people to be served. A good rule of thumb is always to use one piece of each kind of food for each person. Remember, for speed’s sake, you can also limit the types of food to include in fritto misto. The recipe can also vary according to seasonal food availability.

Leave Ben The Cat sleeping in the bedroom: he can be dangerous in the kitchen!

Fritto Misto – You can make fried foods in the USA

Recipe Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods

Fritto misto di pesce – Fish mixed fried – Sergio Conti CC BY-SA 2.0

Recipe Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods


  • 6 oz. veal sweetbreads
  • 6 oz. veal brains
  • 6 oz. veal marrow from spine
  • 3 oz. cocks combs
  • 6 pair frog’s legs
  • 1 sliced eggplant, salted and drained for one hour
  • 2 sliced zucchini
  • 6 zucchini blossoms
  • 6 oz. sweet semolina
  • flour
  • milk
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt
Be careful. Ben is interested in shrimp!

How to make the Fritto Misto:

Clean the meats, vegetables, and bone frog’s legs. Cut the hearts into thin slices, then flour the roots and frog’s legs. Next, cut zucchini and eggplant into thick strips. Keep the zucchini blossoms and mushroom caps whole. Dip each piece into the beaten eggs, coat with breadcrumbs, pat the food to get rid of excess crumbs, and set aside.

For chicken dumplings, mix 6 oz. Already cooked chicken with 1 tsp. Parsley, four tbs. Breadcrumbs and one egg. Combine well to get a smooth mixture.

Then shape into small, slightly elongated, and flat dumplings. Flour them in eggs and set them aside.

Bring a pint of milk to a boil with 1 tsp: sugar and two tbs to make semolina. Butter, sprinkle in 6 oz. Semolina flour and cook while stirring for 20 mins. Add more milk if necessary until the semolina is cooked. Roll out the semolina into a 1-in. thick rectangle on a greased plate, then cool and cut into triangles. Dip in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and set aside.

Fry each food separately, as they require different cooking times when golden brown on both sides, remove from frying pan and place on paper towels.

When all the frying is finished, arrange the various pieces of food on a serving platter. Salt to taste. Serve very hot.

Speed is of utmost importance in a fritto misto, and the amount will vary according to the number of people to be served. A good rule of thumb is always to use one piece of each kind of food for each person. Remember, for speed’s sake, you can also limit the types of food to include in fritto misto. The recipe can also vary according to seasonal food availability.

Recipe Fritto Misto – Mixed fried foods is a recipe from

Riso e latte – Rice and milk

rice with milk served at a Peruvian restaurant – Francesc Fort CC BY-SA 4.0

Riso e latte – Rice and milk

Rice with milk is a very creamy first course, simple with all the taste of childhood. It takes very few ingredients that we all always have at home to get a particular first course, with popular origins, which always give us the best and most authentic recipes. We can use Roma rice or Carnaroli rice. The rice is used to make risotto, to obtain a perfect dish.


  • 300 g Carnaroli rice
  • 1.5 l Milk
  • 40 g Butter
  • q.b.Salt

How to make Riso e latte – Rice and milk

Heat the slightly salted milk in a pan, preferably non-stick or with a thick bottom. It is preferable to use whole milk, but nothing stops you from using semi-skimmed milk for a lighter but less creamy dish.

When the milk comes to a boil, add the rice and stir until it comes to a boil again. Continue cooking, occasionally stirring over low heat, until the rice is soft and creamy. If necessary, add a little hot milk.

Once cooked, remove from the heat, add the butter and, if you wish, 40g of grated cheese (parmesan, for example), and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Stir vigorously and serve piping hot.

Riso e latte – Rice and milk is a recipe from Lombardy, Veneto

Risotto alla Sbirraglia – Cops risotto

Risotto alla Sbirraglia – Daniel Capilla CC BY-SA 4.0

Risotto alla Sbirraglia – Cops risotto

Sbirraglia. From sbira, a soup of meat and tripe. It was formerly served to the men of the guard (sbirri) in the area of the port of Genoa. It is also the name of this thick soup from Veneto made of rice and chicken and consumed mainly in the southern part of the region. Therefore the name probably has, by assonance, this Ligurian origin.


  • 1 chicken
  • 400 g rice
  • 1 l and 1/2 of broth
  • 60 g of grated cheese
  • 1 onion
  • butter
  • oil
  • salt

How to make Risotto alla Sbirraglia – Cops risotto

Cut the chicken into pieces not too large, discarding the carcass. Heat three tablespoons of oil, season the chopped onion, add the chicken stew, season with salt, stir, and brown in a saucepan. Sprinkle with a bit of hot water and cook for about half an hour. Add the rice, mix it well with the chicken and let it season. Then cook it like a regular risotto, pouring in a little hot broth at a time. Ten minutes before removing the pan from the heat, add the chicken giblets. Remove the risotto, stir in a knob of butter and grated cheese.

Risotto alla Sbirraglia – Cops risotto is a typical Recipe of the Ligurian and Veneto cuisine

Risotto con calamari – Risotto with squid

Risotto con calamari – Risotto with squid – Herry Lawford CC BY 2.0

Risotto con calamari – Risotto with squid

Risotto with squid is a light and fresh first course, perfect for summer.
The preparation of this dish is straightforward and requires little time. A few simple steps will be enough to bring to the table a risotto suitable both for the most important occasions (such as, for example, holidays) and for lunch every day when you do not want to give up the taste.

It is preferable to use fresh squids to obtain risotto with a more intense and pleasant flavor. Still, if you do not have the opportunity to go to a fishmonger, frozen squids are also acceptable if they are of good quality and thawed in the right way.
To defrost squids, I suggest you put them out of the freezer the night before and keep them in the refrigerator so that the ice melts slowly and the fish does not undergo thermal shocks that could make it tasteless and too hard.

If you are in a hurry and decide to defrost squids at the last moment, I suggest defrosting them in a pot containing cold water.
The rice suitable for preparing the recipe of risotto with squids is Carnaroli, a variant of long-grain rice, quite valuable that has the characteristic of remaining intact and firm during cooking.


Difficulty Medium
Medium Cost
Preparation Time 15 Minutes
Cooking Time 20 Minutes
Serves four people
Cooking Method Stove


360 g Carnaroli rice
600 g squids
1/2 white onion
One garlic clove
750 ml vegetable stock
20 g extra virgin olive oil
One sprig of parsley
5 g salt
1 g pepper
100 ml dry white wine

How to make Risotto con calamari – Risotto with squid

  1. As mentioned in the introduction, it is essential for the perfect success of this dish, the use of fresh squids. Frozen squids can also be used, as long as they are thawed very slowly, gradually passing from the freezer to the refrigerator and then to room temperature so that the fish does not undergo sudden changes in temperature which would primarily ruin its flavor.
  2. Once you have decided which squid to choose, clean the squid by removing the beak and the entrails and then wash them thoroughly and for a long time under a jet of water at room temperature, or slightly cool.
  3. Dedicate yourself to the preparation of the risotto. Put a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil in a fairly large saucepan and heat it up.
    Sauté the garlic clove cut into 2 or 3 pieces in the oil until it begins to brown, then remove it from the pan as the oil will have already taken on the flavor of the garlic.
  4. Divide the onion into fairly small cubes that you will sauté in the oil until they begin to brown.
  5. At this point, place the rice in the saucepan and toast it for a couple of minutes until it becomes “crispy”, i.e. you will hear the sound of the rice moving around in the saucepan become sharper and drier; this operation is useful so that the outer part of the grains forms a light film that will allow the rice to be cooked perfectly without browning.
    Add a small amount of water for the rice to start cooking and also add a little salt. Alternatively, you could also use vegetable broth.
  6. When the rice is about half cooked, that is after 7/8 minutes from the start of cooking, put the squid in the saucepan and add the white wine, allowing the rice and squid to cook in the wine; add a little vegetable stock to continue cooking once the wine has been absorbed by the rice.
  7. Continue adding the vegetable stock every time the rice needs it and take care to stir the risotto with squids very often in order to have an even cooking.
    When the rice is almost cooked, add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Finely chop the parsley and place it in the saucepan when the squid risotto is cooked.
  9. Mix the parsley well with the other ingredients and then you can serve your squid risotto hot on the table.

Risotto con calamari – Risotto with squid is a regional recipe of Puglia, Campania, and Liguria

Pesto alla genovese – Genoese Pesto

Basil pesto. – CC BY-SA 3.0

Pesto alla genovese – Genoese Pesto

Pesto alla Genovese (pronounced in Genovese Ligurian dialect: /’péstu/, in Ponentine Ligurian dialect: /’pištu/) is a typical traditional condiment from Liguria. This denomination is included among the Ligurian Traditional Food Products (PAT).
Its primary ingredient is basil (Ocimum basilicum), and more specifically, Basilico Genovese (in Ligurian language baxeicò [baʒeɪ’kɔ] or baxaicò [baʒaɪ’kɔ]).
Pesto alla Genovese is obtained by crushing (stirring under pressure) basil with salt, pine nuts, and garlic, seasoned with Parmigiano Reggiano, Fiore Sardo, and extra virgin olive oil. Therefore, it is a raw sauce, a mixture in which the ingredients are mixed cold, not cooked. Because of this characteristic, the elements do not lose their original organoleptic characteristics.

How to make Pesto alla genovese – Genoese Pesto

Pesto alla Genovese (pronounced in Genovese Ligurian dialect: /’péstu/, in Ponentine Ligurian dialect: /’pištu/) is a typical traditional condiment from Liguria. This denomination is included among the Ligurian Traditional Food Products (PAT).
Its primary ingredient is basil (Ocimum basilicum), and more specifically, Basilico Genovese (in Ligurian language baxeicò [baʒeɪ’kɔ] or baxaicò [baʒaɪ’kɔ]).
Pesto alla Genovese is obtained by crushing (stirring under pressure) basil with salt, pine nuts, and garlic, seasoned with Parmigiano Reggiano, Fiore Sardo, and extra virgin olive oil. It is, therefore, a raw sauce, which is a mixture in which the ingredients are mixed cold, not cooked. Because of this characteristic, the elements do not lose their original organoleptic characteristics.

Origins of Pesto alla genovese – Genoese Pesto

The first example was, in Roman times, Moretum, described by Virgil. The first recipe of pesto alla Genovese is dated back to the nineteenth century. However, it is indebted to more ancient crushed sauces such as agliata (Ligurian version of classic agliata), made of garlic and walnuts, spread in Liguria during the maritime republic Genoa, and French pistou.
Cooks in most La Spezia and Genoa areas used leftover cheese crusts because they were economically less expensive; moreover, they added potatoes cheaper than pasta.


The first written recipe can be found in the Vera Cuciniera Genovese (True Genoese Kitchen) by Emanuele Rossi (1852), called Pesto d’Aglio e Basilico (Garlic and Basil Pesto). In all likelihood, in ancient times, at least in the recipe born in peasant homes, did not use Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. It was a rare cheese on popular Ligurian tables, but only pecorino cheese; not the Sardinian one, but the one handcrafted by the shepherds of the Genoese Apennines. On the other hand, the peasant palates of the past were accustomed to aromas and flavors much more intense and, at times, rustic than today.


According to tradition, these are the seven ingredients for pesto.

Young Pra’ basil leaves (the smaller ones): the suitable basil traditionally comes from the cultivations located on Pra’ heights, a district of Genoa. This basil, with a delicate and not mentholated taste (a fundamental quality), currently enjoys the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and for its qualities is indicated for the realization of traditional pesto;
Ligurian Riviera extra virgin olive oil. The oil produced in Liguria is typically delicate (it does not “sting” and does not “stick in the throat,” especially the one made from olives of the “Taggiasca” cultivar of the Riviera dei Fiori) and not very fruity, or rather, “sweet fruity,” that is, with the notes of bitterness and pungency (present in every quality extra virgin oil) not overpowering the sensation of sweetness, and for its qualities, it is a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO);
Use Italian pine nuts, better if from Pisa. (Those of the pine forest of S. Rossore, at the mouth of the Arno, are the best because they are the finest, most delicate and sweet, both in scent and taste: the most valuable).
Parmigiano-Reggiano stravecchio (aged at least 30 months): it must be very mature, also because, in this way, it does not “cook” when the cooking water of the pasta is added to stretch the cream;
Use Fiore Sardo (DOP Sardinian pecorino cheese) with at least ten months of seasoning.
Garlic of Vessalico (Municipality of the lower Arroscia Valley of Imperia), characterized by a less intense taste;
Use Coarse sea salt, preferably the particularly intense salt from the salt pans of Trapani.

It is crucial to use premium ingredients because they contain the characteristics that ensure a balanced, quality final flavor.

Preparation of Pesto alla genovese – Genoese Pesto

Preparation of pesto, crushed with a wooden pestle in the traditional marble mortar

Traditionally pesto is produced with the use of mortar and pestle. The pesto commonly found in commerce is made with a blender, whereas artisans still use mortar. A blender has the drawback of oxidizing the basil leaves and heating the cream. The recipe mixes the various ingredients using a blender, until obtaining a delicate and creamy consistency, with only the final addition of oil. It is, however, preferable to keep the mixing order of the recipe made with a mortar. Variations are possible because of the different proportions of the ingredients.
The recipe with the mortar is traditionally codified; however, you can modify it according to personal taste. Here is the most accredited version:
The traditional mortar is marble with a wooden pestle. Basil leaves are washed and left to dry, being careful not to crumple them to avoid the breakage of vesicles, with consequent blackening and alteration of taste.
Crush the garlic cloves (1 clove for every 30 basil leaves).
Add basil leaves, interspersing them with modest layers of salt, which, being thick, plays the abrasive role necessary to crush the leaves effectively. Destroy the leaves by rotating the pestle against the mortar walls. Coordinate the movements in one direction of the grinder with the rotation of the mortar in the opposite direction. Grasp its characteristic “ears” with the freehand.
When the basil begins to ooze a green liquid and looks like a uniform cream, add the pine nuts and then the previously grated cheeses (in the following proportions: 2/3 of Parmigiano and 1/3 of Fiore Sardo, approximately, in order not to make the taste too unbalanced, since the Fiore has a more intense flavor), mixing everything well with rotating movements of the pestle and with the possible help of a spoon.
Finally, add the olive oil in drops, which also plays an antioxidant role.
Complete the process as soon as possible to avoid the oxidation of the ingredients. Pesto must appear as a thick cream of uniform light green color. You must mix the different elements to achieve balance in tastes without prevailing.
Before being used as a condiment for pasta, according to the final consistency obtained, You can dilute the pesto with the cooking water of theiations pasta to get a more watery consistency, which must never be too liquid. However, pesto to be added to minestrone does not need this final procedure.

Main variations of Pesto alla genovese – Genoese Pesto

The recipe is subject to variations according to local traditions and personal tastes. The proportion between the two kinds of cheese can be very varied: it can go from a half ratio to the use of Parmesan cheese only; the ideal is about one-third of Fiore Sardo and two-thirds Parmesan cheese. You can reduce the quantity of garlic for those who consider its taste too strong – or the cloves can be deprived of the central core – but the use of Vessalico Garlic guarantees both delicacy and digestibility.
If you do not have Basilico di Pra’ or you have mentholated basil, you can use the system of slightly blanching basil leaves in boiling water to sweeten their taste. This system is also helpful if you want to preserve basil for long periods.
Above all in the hinterland, for reasons of availability, it was customary, by contradicting the disciplinary, to use walnuts instead of pine nuts, adequately selected and without the skin which has a bitter taste. Some variants mix pine nuts and walnuts in variable percentages.
In an old enriched version and still expected, are added in the pasta, together with pesto, boiled potatoes, and green beans.
In the hinterland, especially those of Genoa and Savona, as in ancient times, it was difficult to find oil; they used to add butter in its place as dairy products, on the contrary, were readily available.
A cookbook of 1893, in the absence of basil, suggests using marjoram (persa) and parsley (porsemmo).
Despite the many unofficial variants, the authentic pesto alla Genovese recipe recognized by the disciplinary is the first one indicated.

Use of Pesto alla genovese – Genoese Pesto

Pesto alla Genovese is used to season pasta dishes such as potato gnocchi or trofie advantaged, minestrone alla Genovese and pasta, such as trofiette, bavette, linguine, trenette, corzetti, tagliatelle, tagliolini, lasagna and risotto.

Recognition and Specifications

Genoese Basil PDO of Pra’

Pesto alla Genovese is included among the Ligurian Traditional Food Products (PAT) recognized by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies.
The name “pesto Genovese” is subject to a disciplinary set by the Consorzio del Pesto Genovese.
In big distribution points (especially outside Liguria), pesto is often found that substitutes extra virgin olive oil with other seed oils. Walnut sauce is sometimes used instead of the original pine nuts or cashews, citric acid, parsley are added to give green color, and green beans to increase the mass or other ingredients that dilute or alter the taste. Although familiar and pleasing to the palate, these products also significantly differ from authentic Genoese pesto’s taste and organoleptic properties.
The brands present in the GDO also sell the version “without garlic,” which does not correspond to the authentic traditional Genoese pesto.
Since 2007 is held in Genoa, every two years, the world championship of pesto al mortaio.

Pesto alla Genovese is a Regional recipe from Liguria



Primo esempio fu, in epoca romana, il Moretum, descritto da Virgilio. La prima ricetta del pesto alla genovese viene fatta risalire all’Ottocento, anche se certamente è debitrice di più antiche salse pestate come l’agliata (versione alla ligure dell’agliata classica), a base d’aglio e noci, diffusa in Liguria durante la repubblica marinara genovese, e il pistou francese.
Nella maggior parte della zona spezzina e genovese venivano usate le croste di formaggio avanzate, perché economicamente meno costose, inoltre le patate venivano aggiunte in quanto meno care della pasta.


La prima ricetta scritta la si trova sulla Vera Cuciniera Genovese di Emanuele Rossi (1852), denominata come Pesto d’Aglio e Basilico. Con molta probabilità anticamente, almeno nella ricetta nata nelle case contadine, non era prevista la presenza del Parmigiano-Reggiano, poiché formaggio raro sulle mense popolari liguri, ma soltanto il pecorino; non il sardo, ma quello prodotto artigianalmente dai pastori dell’Appennino genovese. D’altronde i palati contadini delle epoche passate erano abituati ad aromi e sapori molto più intensi e, a volte, rustici di quelli attuali.


Secondo la tradizione, questi sono i sette ingredienti per il pesto.:

  • Foglie di basilico di Pra’ giovani (quelle più piccole): il basilico adatto proviene tradizionalmente dalle coltivazioni poste sulle alture di Pra’, quartiere genovese. Questo basilico, dal sapore delicato e non mentolato (qualità fondamentale), gode attualmente della denominazione di origine protetta (DOP) e per quello indicato per le sue qualità alla realizzazione del pesto tradizionale;
  • Olio extra vergine di oliva della Riviera Ligure. L’olio prodotto in Liguria è tipicamente delicato (non “pìzzica” e non “attacca in gola”, soprattutto quello prodotto da olive di cultivar “Taggiasca” della Riviera dei Fiori) e non molto fruttato, o meglio, “fruttato dolce” ossia con le note d’amaro e piccante (presenti in ogni olio extravergine di qualità) non prevaricanti sulla sensazione di dolcezza, e per le sue qualità, è a Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP);
  • Pinoli italiani, meglio se pisani. (Quelli della pineta di S. Rossore, alla foce dell’Arno, sono i migliori, perché i più fini, delicati e dolci, sia al profumo che al gusto: i più pregiati.)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano stravecchio (invecchiato almeno 30 mesi): deve essere molto stagionato, anche perché in questo modo non si “cuoce” quando si aggiunge l’acqua di cottura della pasta per allungare le crema;
  • Fiore sardo (formaggio pecorino sardo DOP) con almeno 10 mesi di stagionatura.
  • Aglio di Vessalico (Comune della bassa Valle Arroscia imperiese), caratterizzato dal gusto meno intenso;
  • Sale marino grosso, meglio se quello particolarmente intenso delle saline di Trapani.

È importante l’utilizzo di ingredienti di pregio poiché contengono le caratteristiche che garantiscono un sapore finale equilibrato e di qualità.

Preparing pesto – Adriano CC BY-SA 3.0


Preparazione del pesto, schiacciato col pestello di legno nel tradizionale mortaio di marmo

Tradizionalmente il pesto viene prodotto con l’uso di mortaio e pestello. Il pesto che si trova comunemente in commercio è prodotto con il frullatore, mentre artigianalmente si usa ancora il mortaio. L’uso del frullatore ha la controindicazione di ossidare le foglie di basilico e di scaldare la crema. Usando il frullatore la ricetta consiste semplicemente nel miscelare i vari ingredienti, fino a ottenere una consistenza fine e cremosa, con solo l’aggiunta finale dell’olio. È comunque preferibile mantenere l’ordine di miscelazione della ricetta eseguito col mortaio. Le varianti possibili sono dovute alle diverse proporzioni fra gli ingredienti.
La ricetta con il mortaio invece è codificata dalla tradizione, si presta tuttavia a numerose varianti dovute al gusto personale. Ecco la versione più accreditata:
Il mortaio tradizionale è di marmo, con il pestello in legno. Le foglie di basilico vengono lavate e lasciate ad asciugare, facendo attenzione a non stropicciarle per evitare la rottura delle vescicole, con conseguente annerimento e alterazione del gusto.
Nel mortaio si schiacciano gli spicchi d’Aglio (1 spicchio ogni 30 foglie circa di basilico).
Si aggiungono poi le foglie di Basilico, intervallandone con modesti strati di Sale, che essendo grosso svolge il ruolo abrasivo necessario per triturare efficacemente le foglie, che andranno dunque schiacciate tramite movimento rotatorio del pestello contro le pareti del mortaio, coordinando movimenti in un verso del pestello con la rotazione del mortaio nel verso opposto afferrando con la mano libera le sue caratteristiche “orecchie”.
Quando il basilico inizia a stillare un liquido verde e si presenta come una crema uniforme, si aggiungeranno i Pinoli e successivamente i formaggi preventivamente grattugiati (nelle proporzioni: 2/3 di Parmigiano e 1/3 di Fiore Sardo, circa, per non rendere il gusto troppo squilibrato, essendo il Fiore di gusto più deciso), amalgamando bene il tutto sempre con movimenti rotatori del pestello e con l’eventuale ausilio di un cucchiaio.
Infine si aggiunge l’Olio d’Oliva versato a goccia, che svolge, anche, un ruolo antiossidante.
La lavorazione dovrebbe terminare il prima possibile proprio per evitare l’ossidazione degli ingredienti. Il pesto deve apparire come una crema densa di colore uniforme verde chiaro. I diversi ingredienti devono essere mescolati per raggiungere equilibrio nei gusti, senza prevalenze.
Prima di utilizzarlo come condimento per la pastasciutta, a seconda della consistenza finale ottenuta, il pesto può essere allungato con l’acqua di cottura della pasta sino a ottenere una consistenza più diluita, che comunque non deve mai essere troppo liquida. Il pesto da aggiungere al minestrone non necessita di questa procedura finale.

Principali variazioni

La ricetta è soggetta a variazioni a seconda delle tradizioni locali e dei gusti personali. Può essere molto varia la proporzione fra i due formaggi: si può andare da una proporzione metà e metà, fino all’utilizzo del solo parmigiano; l’ideale è circa un terzo di Fiore Sardo e due terzi di Parmigiano. La quantità di aglio può essere ridotta per coloro che ne ritengono il suo gusto troppo forte – oppure gli spicchi possono essere privati dell’anima centrale – ma l’utilizzo dell’Aglio di Vessalico garantisce sia la delicatezza, sia la digeribilità.
Se non si dispone del Basilico di Pra’ o si ha un basilico mentolato, si può ricorrere al sistema di sbollentare leggermente le foglie di basilico in acqua bollente per addolcirne il gusto. Questo sistema è inoltre utile se si vuole conservare il basilico per lunghi periodi.
Soprattutto nell’entroterra, per questioni legate alla disponibilità, era uso, contravvenendo al disciplinare, utilizzare le noci al posto dei pinoli, opportunamente selezionate e private della pellicina che ha un gusto amarognolo. Alcune varianti miscelano pinoli e noci in percentuali variabili.
In un’antica versione arricchita e ancora diffusa, sono aggiunti nella pasta, insieme al pesto, anche patate e fagiolini bolliti.
Nell’entroterra, soprattutto quelle genovesi e savonesi, essendo in antichità difficile reperire l’olio, si soleva aggiungere al suo posto burro essendo i latticini, al contrario, facilmente reperibili.
Una cuciniera del 1893, in mancanza del basilico, consiglia di usare maggiorana (persa) e prezzemolo (porsemmo).
Nonostante le numerose varianti non ufficiali, la ricetta del vero pesto alla genovese riconosciuta dal disciplinare è una, la prima indicata.


Il pesto alla genovese si usa per condire primi piatti come gli gnocchi di patate o le trofie avvantaggiate, il minestrone alla genovese e la pasta, tipo le trofiette, le bavette, le linguine, le trenette, i corzetti, le tagliatelle, i tagliolini, le lasagne e il risotto.

Riconoscimenti e disciplinare

Basilico genovese DOP di Pra’
Il Pesto alla genovese è inserito tra i Prodotti agroalimentari tradizionali liguri (PAT) riconosciuti dal Ministero delle politiche agricole alimentari e forestali.
La denominazione “pesto genovese” è soggetta a un disciplinare messo a punto dal Consorzio del Pesto Genovese.
Spesso nei grandi punti di distribuzione (soprattutto fuori della Liguria) si trova pesto in cui l’olio d’oliva extra vergine è sostituito con altri oli di semi, oppure si utilizza salsa di noci al posto degli originali pinoli oppure anacardi, acido citrico, prezzemolo per dare colore verde e fagiolini per aumentare la massa o altri ingredienti che ne diluiscono o alterano il sapore. Questi prodotti, pur diffusi e gradevoli al palato, differiscono anche notevolmente dal gusto e dalle proprietà organolettiche del pesto genovese autentico.
I marchi presenti nella GDO vendono anche la versione “senza aglio” che, tuttavia, non corrisponde dell’autentico pesto genovese della tradizione.
Dal 2007 si tiene a Genova, con cadenza divenuta biennale, il campionato del mondo di pesto al mortaio.

Pesto alla Genovese e’ una Ricetta regionale della Liguria

Corzetti o croxetti – Little corzetti or croxetti

Croxetti al pesto (traditional ligurian recipe) – F Ceragioli CC BY-SA 3.0

Corzetti o croxetti – Little corzetti or croxetti

I corzetti o croxetti oppure anche corsetti (in dialetto genovesecorzétti, che si pronuncia [kurˈzetti]) sono una pasta tipica della cucina ligure.


Ne esistono due tipi: quelli della val Polcevera (corzetti valpolceveraschi), dalla caratteristica forma a piccolo 8 (otto) e quelli stampati (corzétti stanpæ o corzetti del Levante). Sono detti stampati perché la decorazione di questi piccoli cerchi di pasta a forma di medaglione è ottenuta mediante uno stampino in legno che decora la pasta in modo da “prepararla” ad accogliere meglio il condimento. In alcune botteghe artigianali del centro storico genovese si trova ancora chi fabbrica questi stampi così utili per preparare questa pasta tipica. Parallelemente alla produzione artigianale, esiste anche una produzione industriale dei corzetti che viene normalmente effettuata con macchine raviolatrici.


I corzetti stampati (“cruxetti“) compaiano nel medioevo, nell’epoca rinascimentale. Le famiglie nobili del tempo pare ordinassero ai loro cuochi di realizzare un tipo di pasta che riportasse il proprio stemma, tutto ciò con lo scopo di rammentare ai commensali l’importanza della loro famiglia e per riaffermare il proprio dominio sul territorio. Le incisioni erano solitamente differenti sulle due parti. Il nome deriva dall’immagine stilizzata di una piccola croce, una crocetta (“cruxetta“) con la quale veniva originariamente decorato un lato di questi medaglioni, da qui il nome “cruxettu“. Nel levante ligure, con la parola “corzetto“ s’intende sia lo stampo di legno che la pasta così incisa.

Tecnicamente i corzetti si presentano come stampi di legno, sono composti da due parti: una che ha la funzione di “timbro” e l’altra di forma cilindrica con una parte incisa e concava, che serve per tagliare la pasta. I tipi di legno generalmente usati sono: pero, melo, faggio o acero. Sebbene la maggior parte degli stampi per corzetti oggi venga prodotta in modo industriale, i più pregiati restano quelli intagliati interamente a mano.

Tra i maestri intagliatori più famosi ricordiamo Pietro Picetti di Varese Ligure. Al Picetti va anche il merito di aver ritrovato una fonte documentale della Repubblica di Genova risalente al 1700, che testimonia come i corzetti fossero preparati in occasione di eventi ufficiali.


  • Acqua,
  • farina di grano
  • sale.

Come preparare i Corzetti o croxetti – Little corzetti or croxetti

Si prepara l’impasto, poi la sfoglia, quindi la si taglia a cerchietti su cui si stampa il disegno dello stampino.

Una volta fatti si lasciano asciugare un po’ sulla madia e poi si cuociono.

Sono ottimi conditi con salsa di noci, sugo di funghi (Tocco de funzi) o con il pesto. Nel Levante Ligure è uso condirli anche con la salsa di pinoli.

Corzetti o croxetti – Little corzetti or croxetti sono una Ricetta tipica della Liguria

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
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
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at enricomassetti@msn.com.