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 affected by both the sea and the mountains. The recipes of this region are many and the many tourists that crowd 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 most well-known recipe in the world is the pesto alla genovese, a highly appreciated pasta condiment, especially if tasted with trofie, a type of pasta that has its origins in a town near Genoa.
Another sauce for Ligurian pasta is walnut sauce, but there are also main courses, such as cappon magro, rabbit with olives. And his particular recipes like the pasqualina cake and the famous focaccia di Recco and finally the desserts like the Genoese pandolce or canestrelli. Here are some typical recipes of Liguria.
It is not possible to go to Liguria and not taste the famous pesto alla genovese, made with typical ingredients of the Ligurian land such as basil, pine nuts and olive oil. Tradition has it that its ingredients are minced in a mortar with a pestle. It is a wooden or stone container with a round bottom and the old 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 Ligurian leaf.
100 grams of basil leaves
120 grams of olive oil
60 grams of pine nuts
60 grams of seasoned pecorino
50 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic
1 pinch of coarse salt
In the mortar with pestle chop garlic with coarse salt. Add the basil leaves that you have gently cleaned with a dry cloth. The basil leaves must be chopped at the beginning with the 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 and the grated Parmesan. Finally, mix everything with olive oil. The pesto alla genovese is well preserved for a long time in the refrigerator and vacuum-packed.
Another typical Ligurian pasta seasoning.
180 grams kernels
1 clove of garlic
40 grams of breadcrumbs
40 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
150 grams of whole milk
4 tablespoons of olive oil
salt as needed
The kernels of walnuts should be soaked in boiling water to be able to remove the film covering them more easily. In the original Genoese recipe this was not done as the bitter taste that leaves the peel of the walnuts is part of the recipe tradition.
This preparation should also be made in a mortar with a pestle. Reduce the walnuts in small pieces together with the garlic and salt and the breadcrumbs soaked in milk.
Chopped it all, place it in a bowl and knead the dough by adding the milk and olive oil until a homogeneous sauce is obtained.
Both this sauce and the pesto alla genovese must be used cold on the pasta, at the time of dressing it.
Classic second course of Liguria
1 rabbit of about kilograms 1,200-1,300
grams 120 of Taggiasca olives
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 glass of red wine
60 grams of pine nuts
2 sprigs of rosemary
3 bay leaves
a pinch of thyme powder
broth the meat just enough
salt and pepper to taste just enough
Wash and remove the excess fat from the rabbit, in addition to the entrails and cut it into many small pieces .
Meanwhile, in a saucepan put the finely chopped onion in olive oil until it is golden brown. Add the rabbit pieces and brown them slowly on all sides. Soak it with red wine and let it evaporate completely. Salt the rabbit and cook it for at least 30 minutes adding some beef broth 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 will be removed before serving) and the chopped herbs. Cook over low heat for 30/40 minutes adding a little meat stock if needed.
As its name indicates, this recipe is mainly prepared during the Easter period. It is a savory pie filled with eggs, cheese and vegetables. Together with pesto it is the best known Ligurian recipe and it has many variations.
kilograms 1 of type 00 flour
kilograms 1,200 of chard
500 grams of fresh ricotta
1 small onion
2 glasses of water
30 grams of olive oil
100 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper as
First, prepare the pastry that will be used to line the pan and to contain the filling of the cake. Work the flour with water and olive oil until you get a rather firm dough. Divide the dough into about 10 balls and leave to rest for about an hour and a half.
Now we prepare the filling for the cake.
The chard leaves are washed in running water and after being dried they are cut into thin strips. Meanwhile in a large pan fry the onion in a little olive oil. Once golden, add the chopped chard and cook about 20 minutes, adjust the salt.
You can also use spinach for this preparation.
In a bowl, mix the marjoram, salt and pepper and grated Parmesan cheese in the bowl. Finally add the cooked chards and mix well.
Now we prepare the puff pastries from the balls of dough we had prepared.
With a rolling pin spread one ball at a time, trying to make rather thin round sheets.
Take an oven dish and brush with olive oil. Put the first sheet that will also cover the edges of the pan, brush it with oil and add another sheet. Repeat this procedure until 6 of the 10 sheets are used.
Now place half of the beet and ricotta mixture inside. With a spoon form 3 hollows where you will put 3 whole eggs without shell, trying to make them remain whole. Put the remaining mixture of chard and ricotta and make the hollows here for the other 3 eggs. Cover everything with the remaining sheets trying to close the dough tightly.
Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
Typical Ligurian focaccia filled with cheese (crescenza or stracchino)
400 grams of flour
1 glass of water
40 grams of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt until
400 grams of growth or stracchino
Work the flour adding the oil and the salt, slowly add the water to obtain a fairly firm and smooth paste. Make a ball and let it rest for about an hour covered with a cloth.
After this time, cut the dough ball into two parts and roll them out with a rolling pin trying to get a rather fine puff pastry.
Place the first puff pastry in a rectangular pizza pan lined with parchment paper. Cut the growth into many small pieces and place it on the surface of the dough at regular intervals. Close by placing the other puff pastry on top and closing the edges on all four sides.
Pass some oil over the surface of the focaccia and the fine salt. Make regular holes on the top of the focaccia and place in a preheated oven at 220 degrees for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool a little before cutting and serve.
It is a typical dessert of Genoa, also called the panettone of Genoa, because it is usually made on the Christmas holidays. There are two versions, one high and one low. Here I propose the recipe of the low pandolce that is easier to make.
400 grams of flour type Manitoba (found in all supermarkets)
180 grams of flour type 00
grams 150 of butter
grams 160 of sugar
grams 30 of honey
1 sachet of baking powder
2 tablespoons of water of orange flowers
300 grams of raisins
30 grams of candied fruit
30 grams of pine nuts.
First of all, mix and sift the Manitoba flour with the 00 type flour. Mix the sugar and the baking powder sachet with the flour. Add the beaten eggs, room-temperature butter made with small pieces, honey and orange blossom water. When the mixture is smooth, add the pine nuts, raisins and candied fruit. Tradition has it that this dough covered with a napkin remains to rise for about 12 hours.
After this time, line a cake pan with baking paper and put the dough just crushing it to get to the edges. Make 3 triangle-shaped cuts on the surface, bake at 180 degrees in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes. The duration depends very much on the type of oven. Check the dessert after about 30 minutes to test the cooking.
are delicious typical Ligurian biscuits.
200 grams of flour type 00
grams 200 of butter
grams 150 of potato starch
100 grams of icing sugar
5 egg yolks
1 grated lemon rind a
few drops of vanilla flavoring
First of all cook the eggs in boiling water for about 8-10 minutes. Remove the shell and take only the egg yolks.
In a large bowl put the flour, potato starch and icing sugar and mix very well. Add the grated lemon rind, the vanilla flavoring drops and the chopped butter. Mix everything very well (better with a planetary mixer) until the butter has melted. Pass the egg yolks in a colander to make them more creamy and add them to the other ingredients. Stir again and then place the dough on a work surface and work it with your hands until it is soft and elastic.
This dough covered with transparent film should be left in the fridge for about an hour.
After this time, roll out a sheet of about 1 centimeter with a rolling pin and with a biscuit cutter (you will find stencils with the shape of scallops on the market) form many small shapes until the dough is used up.
Place these biscuits on a baking tray where you have put some greaseproof paper, putting them at a regular distance not too close together and bake in a preheated oven at 150 degrees for about 8 - 10 minutes. Once cooked they must be left to cool completely.