The first recipe identified in print as Genoese was a formula for torta alla genovese (a sort of pie filled with apples, dates, raisins, and pulverized almonds, hazelnuts, and pine nuts) appearing in 1520, not in an Italian text but in the Libre del coch, the seminal Catalan-language cookbook by Mestre Robert, probably chef to the king of Naples. In the centuries that followed, Genoa's culinary sophistication grew. Local cooks developed some of Europe's most savory interpretations of tripe, stockfish (which is dried cod from Norway, a staple of the Mediterranean diet since medieval times), and stuffed vegetables. They refined the thin-crusted vegetable-filled torta into an art form. They invented, or at least perfected and disseminated, such now-universal Italian specialties as minestrone, ravioli, focaccia, and, of course, pesto—the remarkable basil-based sauce that is indisputably a local creation. However, with the possible exception of ravioli (whose traditional filling can include a dozen or more ingredients, some as exotic as calf's spinal marrow and heifer's udder), these recipes are straightforward. Genoa developed a number of more complicated local dishes, primarily because it could afford to, and then perhaps because it had access, through its widespread trade, to ingredients and culinary notions from many parts of the world. (One example: The Genoese are the only Italians who regularly use walnuts in savory dishes—a habit they might well have imported from their Black Sea outposts.) It is also possible that the very nature of the republic's trade inspired ornate dishes: Its sailors traveled such great distances that their homecomings were events to be celebrated. No trouble was spared in preparing their welcome—and because they had existed for so long on ships' rations, that welcome inevitably involved enthusiastic feasting on intricately prepared, memorable dishes. It was special-occasion food for one of the most poignant of occasions—the safe return.