The cuisine of Liguria has a very ancient tradition. The close contact that the region has between sea and mountain means that its recipes are influenced by both the sea and the mountains. The recipes of this region are many and the many tourists who flock to its beaches every year know it very well, because in addition to the beauties of nature, it is also its healthy, genuine and Mediterranean foods that attract them.
The best known recipe in the world is pesto with Genoa, a condiment for pasta much appreciated, all the more so when enjoyed with trophies, a type of pasta that has its origins in a village near Genoa.
Another condiment for Ligurian pasta is the sauce of nuts, but there is no shortage of second dishes, such as the lean cappon, the rabbit with olives. And its special recipes such as the Easter cake and the famous recco focaccia and finally the sweets such as the Genoa pandolce or the baskets. Here are some typical recipes from Liguria.
Pesto at Genovese
You can’t go to Liguria and don’t taste the famous Genoa pesto, made with typical Ligurian land ingredients such as basil, pine nuts and olive oil. Tradition has it that its ingredients are chopped in the mortar with the pestle. It is a wooden or stone container with a rounded bottom and the ancient Ligurian housewives with that and patiently reduced the ingredients to very small pieces.
Let’s start with a clarification. Basil, which is the most important ingredient of our recipe should be the longest and narrowest leafy Ligurian one.
Necessary for pesto in Genoa
- 100 grams of basil leaves
- 120 grams of olive oil
- 60 grams of pine nuts
- 60 grams of seasoned pecorino cheese
- 50 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 pinch of coarse salt
Preparation of pesto in Genoa
In the mortar with the pestle chop the garlic with the coarse salt. Add the basil leaves that you will have gently cleaned with a dry cloth. The basil leaves should be chopped at the beginning with their hands,before putting them in the pestle, do not use knives that make the leaves black.
Now add the pine nuts and when they are all chopped add the seasoned pecorino cheese and the grated Parmesan cheese. Finally mix everything with olive oil. The pesto with Genoa is preserved well for a long time in the refrigerator and vacuum.
The nuts sauce
Another typical Ligurian pasta dressing.
Necessary for the sauce of nuts
- 180 grams of walnut kernels
- 1 garlic clove
- 40 grams of bread crumbs
- 40 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
- 150 grams of whole milk
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- salt as needed
Preparation of nuts sauce
The walnuts should be soaked in boiling water in order to remove the film that covers them more easily. In the original Genoa recipe this was not done as the bitter taste that leaves the peel of nuts is part of the tradition of the recipe.
This preparation should also be done in mortar with pestle. Reduce the walnuts to very small pieces along with the garlic and salt and bread crumbs that you will have soaked in milk.
Chop everything put in a bowl and knead the dough obtained adding the milk and olive oil until you get a homogeneous sauce.
Both this sauce and the pesto in Genoa should be used cold on the pasta, at the time of seasoning it.
Rabbit with olives
Classic second dish of Liguria
Necessary for rabbit with olives
- 1 rabbit of about 1,200 to 1,300 kilograms
- 120 grams of taggiasche olives
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 glass of red wine
- 60 grams of pine nuts
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 3 bay leaves
- a pinch of thyme powder
- broth the meat just enough
- salt and pepper just enough
- olive oil just enough
Preparation of rabbit with olives
Wash and remove excess fat from the rabbit, in addition to the entrails and cut it into many small pieces.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, fry the finely chopped onion in the olive oil until golden brown. Add the rabbit pieces and brown them slowly from all sides. Wet now with red wine and let it evaporate completely. Season with the rabbit and cook for at least 30 minutes adding meat stock when needed.
Now add the olives to the rabbit, one half left whole, the other half cut into small pieces. Then the whole pine nuts, the whole garlic (which should be removed before serving on the table) and the chopped herbs. Simmer for 30/40 minutes adding little meat stock if needed.
The Easter cake
As its name also indicates, this recipe is mainly prepared in the Easter period. It is a salty cake filled with eggs, cheeses and vegetables. Along with pesto is the best known Ligurian recipe and has many variants.
Necessary for Easter cake
- 1 kilograms of flour type 00
- 1,200 kilograms of cilour
- 500 grams of fresh ricotta
- 6 eggs
- 1 small onion
- 2 glasses of water
- 30 grams of olive oil
- 100 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
- pepper salt and increase just enough
Preparing the Easter cake
First prepare the pastry that will serve to line the baking tray and contain the cake filling. Work the flour with the water and olive oil until you get a rather soda paste. Divide the dough into about 10 balls and rest for about an hour and a half.
Now let’s get the cake filling ready.
The chard leaves are wiped in running water and after drying them they are cut into thin strips. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, fry the onion in a little olive oil. Once golden add the chopped cleft and cook for about 20 minutes, adjust the salt.
You can also use spinach for this preparation.
In a bowl mix the brown cheese, salt and pepper and the grated Parmesan cheese. Finally, combine the cooked cilles and mix well.
Now we prepare the puff pastes from the dough balls we had prepared.
With a rolling pin roll out one ball at a time trying to make some rather thin round sheets.
Take a baking dish and brush with olive oil. Put the first puff pastry that will also cover the edges of the baking dish, brush this with oil and add another puff pastry. Repeat this process until 6 of the 10 sheets are used.
Place half of the candeit and ricotta mixture inside. With a spoon form 3 hollows where you will put 3 whole eggs without shell, trying to make them stay whole. Put the remaining mixture of chard and ricotta and make the recesses here for the other 3 eggs. Cover with the remaining sheets trying to close the dough tightly.
Bake in an already hot oven at 170 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
Focaccia di Recco
Typical Ligurian focaccia stuffed with cheese (growing or stracchino)
Required for Recco focaccia
- 400 grams of flour
- 1 glass of water
- 40 grams of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt up
- 400 grams of growth or stracchino
Preparing Recco focaccia
Work the flour by adding the oil and salt, gradually incorporate the water until you get a fairly soda and smooth paste. Make a ball and let rest about an hour covered with a cloth.
After this time cut the ball of dough intwo parts and roll them out with a rolling pin trying to get a rather fine puff pastry.
Put the first puff pastry in a rectangular pizza baking tray lined with baking paper. Cut the growth into many small pieces and place it on the surface of the dough at regular intervals. Close by placing on top of the other puff pastry and closing edges in the four sides.
Pass oil over the surface of the focaccia and salt up. Make regular distance holes on top of the focaccia and place in the oven already hot at 220 degrees for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool a little before cutting and serving.
It is a typical dessert of Genoa, also called the panettone of Genoa, because it is usually made on Christmas holidays. There are two versions, one high and one low. Here I propose the recipe of the low sweet bread that is easier to make.
Necessary for the Genoa pandolce
- 400 grams of Manitoba-type flour (found in all supermarkets)
- 180 grams of flour type 00
- 150 grams of butter
- 2 eggs
- 160 grams of sugar
- grams 30 grams of honey
- 1 packet of baking powder
- 2 tbsp orange blossom water
- 300 grams of raisins
- 30 grams of candied
- 30 grams of pine nuts.
Preparation of the Genoa pandolce
First of all mix and sift the Manitoba flour with the flour type 00. Also mix the sugar and baking powder sachet with the flour. Add the beaten eggs, butter at room temperature made into small pieces, honey and orange blossom water. When the dough is homogeneous add the pine nuts, raisins and candied. Tradition has it that this dough covered with a napkin remains to rise for about 12 hours.
After this time line a cake tin with baking paper and put the dough by crushing it just to get to the edges. Place 3 triangle-shaped cuts on the surface, bake at 180 degrees in an already hot oven for about 45 minutes. The duration depends a lot on the type of oven. Check the cake after about 30 minutes to test the cooking.
The baskets are delicious biscuits typical of Liguria.
Necessary for the baskets
- 200 grams of flour type 00
- 200 grams of butter
- 150 grams of potato starch
- 100 grams of icing sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- zest of 1 grated lemon
- a few drops of vanilla aroma
Preparing the baskets
First cook the eggs in boiling water for about 8-10 minutes. Remove the shell and take only the yolks.
Put the potato starch and icing sugar in a large bowl and mix very well. Add the grated lemon zest, vanilla drops and chopped butter. Mix it very well (better with a planetary) until the butter has melted everything. Pass the hard-boiled egg yolks into a colander to make them creamier and add them to the other ingredients. Stir again and then put the dough on a work top and work with your hands until soft and elastic.
This dough covered with cling film is put in the fridge for about an hour.
After this time with a rolling pin roll out a sheet of about 1 centimeter and with a cookie mold (on the market molds with the shape of the baskets) form many small shapes until the puff pastry is exhausted.
Place these cookies on a baking pan where you will have put some parchment paper, putting them at a regular distance not too close and bake in an already hot oven at 150 degrees for about 8 – 10 minutes. Once cooked, they should be left to cool completely.