The authentic Genovese Napoletana

The most famous sauce in Naples. And even if, the Neapolitans say, "the best trattoria is home", we introduce a few trattorias of where to have the best Genoese in the city.  A dish made entirely of onions and meat: there are many other variations: there are those who add the salami, some add tomato, there are those who like it drier, creamier. The Genovese is also good the next day, re-heated. 

Ingredients  Nonna Gelsomina's La Genovese Napoletana

500 grams of pasta (ziti, candelabra, paccheri)

3 kilos of onion (you can choose both white and Tropea red ones); 1 kg of beef; salami (a generous piece); salt

pepper; chili pepper; 2 carrots; celery; oil


In a saucepan, add the oil, the onions you have cut into small slices, the celery and carrots. When everything is wilted, add the meat, a glass of white wine and salt. Let it cook for a couple of hours on a low flame, let all the juices come out and bind to the others. When the outside of the meat has taken on a color tending to "cooked" (brown and the fat around it has shrivelled) then switch off.

There are many stories and legends on the origin of the name. One hypothesis, which is also supported by the famous chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo, says that sailors who were commuting between Naples and Genoa to feed themselves, cooked with what they had, mostly onions, some carrots, bay leaves, meat very little, perhaps the leftovers. In Naples there is no self-respecting restaurant that does not offer it on the menu at least once a week. And even if, as the Neapolitans say, "the best trattoria is your home", here is a selection of the best Genoese restaurants in the city.

A typical osteria of Naples is the Osteria della Mattonella, which name refers to the Vietri-style tiles of the 1700s that color the walls. There are six tables, and for forty years, the Marangio family has been reviving the flavors of Neapolitan cuisine. The meat sauce, the meatballs, the pasta and potatoes, the eggplant parmigiana, all done according to the times and recipes of the past. The Genoese is no exception, indeed it is the emblem of this philosophy. Cooking should be slow, the sauce is not ready until the onion blends with the meat. The only variation on the theme, pasta: penne is used here. Via Nicotera 13 in Naples.

Another fabulous Osteria is Biancomangiare.  The menu, without however departing from the Neapolitan tradition, and that's what we need to focus on. For the rest in the Pignasecca trattoria everything has remained more or less the same, even the clientele, a mix of tourists and local customers. In the kitchen there are always Domenico and his mother-in-law Patrizia. The Genoese remains one of the main dishes of the house and is served as an accompaniment to mezzani or macaroni. This is Mimmo's recipe: "Fry the meat in oil, then pour a little red wine once it has evaporated, add the Montoro copper onions, then cook everything together very slowly for six / eight hours, adding salt and water gradually ». Vico San Nicola alla Carità 13.

Mangi & Bevi, a trattoria in the university area. Authentic and genuine cuisine in  Via Sedile di Porto.  Turnover is rapid, in a continuous cycle from noon to three.  Simple traditional recipes; consistent and rich in taste. Given the long preparation time; the Genoese is prepared only once a week, on Thursdays. Daniela, the cook, gets to work a day earlier to peel and soak the onions. Then she cuts them and fry them in oil to which a little water is added. Then she combines chopped carrots and celery and cooks for four to five hours. The next morning she fries the meat, add the onions, another four hours of cooking and the Genoese is ready. 

 Angelo Martino, the patron of the historic “Al 53”  in Piazza Dante; the historic center of Naples. The patron favours a simple and traditional cuisine. For the Genovese ; don't talk to him about cooking times, he'll tell you it's a question of consistency, not a time. The onions must melt and the meat must become very tender, it takes experience to understand when it's time to turn off the fire for the delicious Genovese.

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