Pasta alla genovese



This is a traditional recipe of Campania that is widespread and appreciated by everyone; despite its name, it is unknown in the Ligurian capital. This rich tomato-free ragu, prepared with lots of onions that turn into a delicious puree when cooked, is highly flavorsome and presents a sweet note. This is why the sauce needs to be balanced with the acidity of the wine and lastly, left to thicken, or 'dry'. Some save the meat and enjoy it as a second course, others prefer to use it all with the pasta, just like we have done! Lastly, the addition of grated cheese and pepper to the finished dish is also hotly debated... You will have noticed that genovese is a classic recipe loved by everyone, because you can choose the version best suited to your family's taste. We tried to collect the essence of tradition, but we would love to find out about your versions too! This Sunday, together with Neapolitans we share the gastronomic dilemma: genovese, Neapolitan soffritto or the classic Neapolitan ragu?

Ziti pasta ¾ lb (320 g)
Beef 1 lb (600 g) - (blade/eye round/silverside)
Yellow onions 2 lbs ( kg)
Celery 2 oz (75 g)
Carrots 2 oz (75 g)
Parsley 1 sprig
Bay leaves 1 leaf
White wine ⅔ cup (150 g)
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Fine salt to taste

How to prepare Pasta alla genovese

To make pasta alla genovese, start by peeling and thinly slicing the onion 1. Peel and finely chop the carrots 2. Finely chop the celery too 3, leave the tuft to one side.

Tie the celery tuft, parsley and laurel leave together with cooking twine for a bouquet garni 4. Lastly, prepare the meat by removing any excess fat 5 and cutting it into 5 pieces 6.

Add a generous amount of oil to a large saucepan, followed by the onions 7, the celery and the carrot 8. Leave to flavor on a low flame for a few minutes, then add the meat 9.

Add the bouquet garni 10 and a pinch of salt, stir and leave to flavor for a few minutes. Lower the flame, cover with the lid and cook for around 3 hours 11. There is no need to add water or squash because the onions will release enough liquid into the cooking sauce so that it does not dry out. However, it is important to check and occasionally stir it. Remove the bouquet garni once the 3 hours are up 12.

Now add part of the wine and simmer on a high flame 13. Stir and continue to cook for another hour without the lid, gradually add the remaining wine as the sauce thickens 14. Once the cooking time is up, cook the ziti in boiling salted water 15.

Drain the pasta when firm to the bite and place it back in the saucepan 16. Stir well to amalgamate the sauce 20, then serve your pasta alla genovese, sprinkled with some pepper and grated Parmigiano if you wish 18!


Genovese sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, in a sealed container.

It can be frozen if you prefer.


A few tomatoes or a little tomato paste is added in some versions. Water is added in other versions, for even creamier onions. Some add lard, butter or pork, for an even richer genovese.