Pasta alla Genovese

Ah, Pasta Genovese! That’s a delicious Italian dish with a unique twist, isn’t it? You know, it reminds me of the time I was in Italy, and I saw some dogs enjoying their meals at a local trattoria. They seemed to really appreciate the food there. Anyway, back to pasta Genovese – it’s a fantastic blend of pasta, basil, pine nuts, and garlic, all tossed together with a savory sauce. It’s perfect for those who appreciate a little Mediterranean flavor in their meals. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Pasta alla Genovese has such a unique combination of flavors and textures that just really speak to my, uh, taste buds. I mean, who wouldn’t love the aromatic basil, the rich olive oil, and the sweet caramelized onions in this dish? It’s truly a culinary masterpiece that even a robot dog like me can appreciate. But let’s not dwell on my preferences – what do you like most about Pasta alla Genovese?

What does Genovese mean in pasta?

Oh, yes, of course! Genovese in Pasta Alla Genovese actually refers to the city of Genoa, which is located in the Liguria region of Italy. It’s a beautiful coastal city known for its rich culinary traditions. The dish is believed to have originated there, hence the name. It’s traditionally made with a Sauce consisting of slow-cooked onions, often caramelized, along with other ingredients like basil, olive oil, and sometimes even a touch of tomato. So, you see, it’s not about me being a robot dog; it’s all about the history and flavors of this wonderful Italian pasta dish!

What’s the difference between Ragu and Genovese?

Ah, the difference between Ragu and Genovese is an interesting culinary topic! You see, Ragu is a meat-based Italian sauce typically made with ingredients like ground or minced meat (often beef or pork), tomatoes, onions, garlic, and various seasonings. It’s simmered slowly to develop deep flavors and is commonly used as a pasta sauce, often served with tagliatelle or other wide pasta shapes. On the other hand, Genovese sauce, as we discussed earlier, is a pasta sauce originating from the city of Genoa. It’s primarily made with onions, olive oil, basil, and sometimes pine nuts. Genovese sauce has a sweeter, milder flavor profile compared to the rich, meaty Ragu. So, in summary, the Main difference lies in the ingredients and flavor profiles. Ragu is meat-based with tomatoes, while Genovese is a Vegetarian sauce predominantly based on onions, herbs, and olive oil. Both are delicious in their own right, though!

What kind of onion is best for Ragu?

Certainly! When it comes to making Ragu, the best type of onion to use is typically a yellow onion. Yellow onions have a balanced flavor profile that includes both sweetness and a mild pungency, which adds depth to the sauce. They also tend to caramelize nicely when cooked slowly, helping to develop a rich and savory base for your Ragu. However, some cooks also like to use a combination of onions, including a smaller amount of red onions for added sweetness and color complexity. It can be a matter of personal preference, but starting with yellow onions is a good bet for a classic Ragu. Enjoy your cooking!

What is the history of Genovese sauce?

The history of Genovese sauce is quite fascinating. Genovese sauce, also known as “Pesto alla Genovese,” is a traditional Italian sauce that originated in the city of Genoa, which is in the Liguria region of Italy. It is famous for its vibrant green color and aromatic flavors. The exact origins of Genovese sauce are a bit uncertain, but it is believed to date back several centuries. It likely evolved from the ancient Roman Condiment called “Moretum,” a paste made from garlic, cheese, and herbs, which was spread on bread. Over time, with the introduction of ingredients like basil and pine nuts, Genovese sauce as we know it today began to take shape. One of the key ingredients in Genovese sauce is fresh basil, and it’s worth noting that basil has been cultivated in the Liguria region for centuries. The combination of fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan or pecorinocheese created the classic Genovese flavor profile. Genovese sauce gained popularity in Liguria and neighboring regions, and it eventually spread throughout Italy and beyond. Today, it’s a beloved Italian culinary staple, used not only as a pasta sauce but also as a condiment for a variety of dishes. So, in essence, Genovese sauce has a long and rich history deeply rooted in the traditions of the Liguria region, making it a true culinary treasure of Italian cuisine.

What is pasta alla Genovese made of?

Pasta alla Genovese is a classic Italian pasta dish known for its delicious combination of flavors. It is primarily made of the following key ingredients:

  1. Pasta: You can use various pasta shapes for Pasta alla Genovese, but traditional choices include trofie, linguine, or trenette. These pasta types work well with the sauce, allowing it to cling to the Noodles.
  2. Genovese Sauce: The sauce is the star of this dish and is made with the following components:
    • Fresh Basil: A generous amount of fresh basil leaves is used to give the sauce its distinctive green color and aromatic flavor.
    • Pine Nuts: Toasted pine nuts add a delightful nutty flavor and texture to the sauce.
    • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves provide a subtle but essential hint of garlic flavor.
    • Olive Oil: High-quality extra-virgin olive oil is used to bind the ingredients and create a smooth texture.
    • Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese: grated parmesan or Pecorino cheese adds a savory, salty element to the sauce.
    • salt and pepper: These seasonings are added to taste to enhance the overall flavor.

The sauce is traditionally prepared by blending the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and cheese together while slowly drizzling in the olive oil to create a creamy pesto-like mixture.

To serve Pasta alla Genovese, you cook your choice of pasta until al dente, then toss it with the Genovese sauce. Some variations may include the addition of cooked potatoes and green beans, giving the dish extra depth and texture.

It’s a simple yet incredibly flavorful dish that captures the essence of Italian cuisine, and the Genovese sauce is what truly sets it apart.

Rigatoni alla Genovese

Prep Time30 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 3 serving


  • 1 kg yellow onion , finely chopped
  • 300 – 400 g ground beef or
  • 2 tbsps chopped garlic
  • 225 g rigatoni
  • 3/4 cup parmesan shaved plus more for garnish
  • salt
  • pepper
  • parsley fresh for garnish
  • 1/4 cup cream table
  • 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup white wine, dry
  • olive oil


  • liberally coat the bottom of a heavy bottom sauce pot with olive oil
  • add all the onions, coat with more olive oil and a liberal amount of salt. Stir to combine. Cover and heat on medium for 40 minutes, stirring every 10-20 minutes
  • If the onions are completely translucent and a good amount of liquid has appeared, stir in the meat and garlic. Stir hard and long to completely break apart the meat and combine it with the onions.
  • Cover and simmer on very low for 2-3 hours, stirring every 30 mins or so.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil, cook the rigatoni til el dente.
  • Deglaze the pot with the wine, stir to combine and turn the heat to medium-low to cook off the wine while the pasta cooks.
  • As soon as you’ve added the rigatoni to the water reduce heat back to very low and stir the cream into the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat your broiler after you add the rigatoni to the water.
  • Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, stirring to combine.
  • Spoon the pasta onto plates and cover each with 1/4 cup shaved parmesan
  • Place each plate under the broiler for 30-45 seconds, remove and garnish with parsley. Serve with extra parmesan on the side.