Italian cuisine is not the same across the entire country. The Neapolitan pizza and hearty meat sauces found in Southern Italy are what most people think of when they think of Italian food, but Northern Italy is an entirely different animal. Popular dishes in Northern Italy tend to be influenced by the other European countries around them, as well as the terrain. In the Liguria region of Italy, there is not much land for livestock, so the city of Genoa relies on a primarily vegetarian diet. To get an understanding of this region’s Italian cuisine, you absolutely must eat these five meals in Genoa.
Pesto alla Genovese
If there is one thing the people of Genoa know it is pesto pasta. This city is famous for both its green pesto sauce and its white pesto sauce. The traditional Genoan way to make pesto sauce is by hand crushing the ingredients with a pestle (hence the name “pesto”). Even today, very few actually stray from this method, which is what makes it taste so wonderful and fresh! Pesto alla Genovese is typically made with pastas such as trofie pasta, trofiette pasta, and trenette pasta.
Because the region is so dependent on vegetables, one of the dishes you must eat in Genoa is Torta Pasqualina. This Northern Italian dish is also known as Easter Tart, but it is eaten year round. A torta is a vegetable tart that can be filled with pretty much any leftover vegetables you have around the house, but it is most commonly made with cheese, artichokes, spinach, zucchini and eggs.
Ravioli and Pansotti
Now this is a pasta everybody knows: ravioli! This region of Italy specializes in stuffed pastas such as ravioli and pansotti. Pansotti is typically stuffed with a Swiss chard, ricotta cheese, and egg filling. Creamy sauces often accompany the stuffed pastas in Genoa.
Cappon Magro is truly a sight to behold. This Christmas seafood salad is one of Genoa’s best dishes. The vegetarian diet goes out the window when it comes to this seafood masterpiece. White fish such as sea bass or capon are a primary ingredient for this Italian recipe. Lobster, shellfish, and red prawns are also used to top this large dish. The base of the salad is practically any vegetable one can think of: potatoes, beets, cauliflower, artichokes, and carrots. Boiled eggs and olives make for the finishing touches.
Northern Italian cuisine sees seafood in many different forms. Popular in Genoa is fried seafood. Local seafood including red mullet, squid, anchovies and sardines are deep-fried in olive oil. When you think of Italian cuisine, you don’t often think fried food, but it’s a big deal in this region!