From 1500 to the present, the uncontested queen of the Neapolitan cuisine together with “Ragù”. A dish which preparation requires a lot of dedication, but the effort will be surely rewarded by the taste.
When we deal with traditional recipes, we usually look for author and history. In the case of Genovese, the research does not lead to precise answers, but it does to a very credible hypothesis. In Naples, during the XVI centuries, there were a community of Genoa’s innkeepers which settled near the harbor; one of their recipes could have been the starting point – after several changes which recipes are subjected to during the passing time – to arrive to Genovese sauce.
Cavalcanti, in his Cucina teorico-pratica (“Theoretical and practical cuisine”), reports the “alla genovese” meat recipe which, with the addition of tomato and onion, has turned in to an excellent sauce for pastas. The Neapolitan women of the people, who were very good at serving tasty dishes with minimum expenses, used to increase the onion quantity (much cheaper than meat).
Ingredients: 35.27 oz. of meat (flank steak), 2.82 oz. of raw ham “gambetto”, 52.91 oz. of red onions, 6 spoons of extra-virgin olive oil, salt, 1 carrot.
Cut the onions in thin slices. Grossly mince the carrot and the ham.
In a wide saucepan pour oil and add all the ingredients together, except the salt. Close it with a lid and let the onions stew until their volume will reduce to its half.
Now, add salt and let the cooking continue for 4 hours, at a low flame, mixing now and again. At the end of the cooking, the onions will be golden-brown and very sweet.
The meat will be so soft that you can cut it with a fork.
The classical pasta for this recipe are handmade “ziti spezzati”.