Genoese Easter Recipes

The cuisine of Genoa is ornate, appetizing, and very, very different.

Genoese Stuffed Veal Breast
Genoese Stuffed Veal Breast (Cima)

Cima means summit–perhaps a reference to this Genoese classic’s monolithic form, or maybe because it’s considered a gastronomic peak. See the recipe for Genoese Stuffed Veal Breast »

Stuffed Lettuce Leaves in Broth
Stuffed Lettuce Leaves in Broth (Lattughe Ripiene in Brodo)

Lattughe ripiene–stuffed lettuces–little packets enclosing a flavorful veal forcemeat, simmered in broth–has been traditional Genoese Easter fare since the 16th century. (An ancient Genoese proverb says ”Pe Pasqua nu ghe cuxin-a ca nu fasse a laituga pin-a”–For Easter, there’s no kitchen that doesn’t make stuffed lettuce.) See the recipe for Stuffed Lettuce Leaves in Broth »

Eastertide Tart
Eastertide Tart (Torta Pasqualina)

This epic Genoese tart, filled with swiss chard (or, in some versions, artichokes), was traditionally made with 33 layers of dough–one for each year of Christ’s life. See the recipe for Eastertide Tart»

Silk Handkerchiefs with Pesto
"Silk Handkerchiefs" with Pesto (Mandilli de Saea al Pesto Genovese)

The pasta squares called mandilli de saea, Genoese for “silk handkerchiefs” (for their size and thinness), are large, paper-thin egg-dough sheets that drape beautifully in the bowl, almost always dressed with pesto. The result is a kind of purity of pasta–certainly less complex than some other Genoese dishes, but with an elegance and grace not ordinarily associated with a plate of noodles. Like other Genoese set pieces, it seems wonderfully anachronistic–deliciously edible link with a fabled past. Get the recipe for Silk Handkerchiefs with Pesto »

Crustless Potato and Bean Tart
Crustless Potato and Green Bean Tart (Polpettone di Patate e Fagiolini)

Polpetta is Italian for croquette; a polpettone is a big croquette–but in this case it is baked, not fried. This dish, which can be made from any number or combination of vegetables, is a classic example of Genoese home cooking. See the recipe for Crustless Potato and Bean Tart »

Old-Fashioned Genoese Sweet Bread
Old-Fashioned Genoese Sweet Bread

Although light, airy adaptations of this sweet are now in vogue, this recipe from Marco and Maurizio Profumo’s Pasticceria Villa di Profumo, a pastry shop on Genoa’s famed via Garibaldi, produces this more traditional dense and crumbly version. See the recipe for Old-Fashioned Genoese Sweet Bread »

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