Spring flavours and tastes of the Ligurian cuisine!

Ligurian cuisine is a triumph of flavours and tastes; Spring is the perfect time to discover the pleasures of the table in both cities and the countryside. Here are some ideas for traditional Ligurian spring dishes.

1. Torta Pasqualina
It is one of the typical savory pies of Ligurian gastronomy, a symbolic dish that embodies tradition and the flavor of the region. It is called Pasqualina because it was originally prepared for Easter Sunday and kept for the outing on Easter Monday. A savory pie, enclosed in a thin pastry with a filling of chard, eggs, and prescinsöa (cheese from Genoa).

Torta Pasqualina
Torta Pasqualina

2. Trofiette
Trofiette is one of the most delicious dishes in the Ligurian gastronomic tradition. Born from skilled hands in a small corner of eastern Liguria, they are the ancient version of gnocchi, made only with flour, with a characteristic twisted shape. In addition to the classic original version, there are trofiette made with chestnut flour, called “bastarde,” with a sweeter and more delicate flavour that enhances the accompanying sauce. They are irresistible when dressed with Genovese pesto, potatoes, and green beans; exquisite with walnut sauce, and excellent with seafood-based sauces like shellfish, mollusks, tuna, or swordfish

Trofie al pesto
Trofie al pesto

3. Croxetti
Croxetti (or corzetti) are pasta medallions resembling small round and embroidered lasagna, originally served with a mixture of white meat, onion, and celery, and later paired with classic condiments such as toccu alla genovese, pesto, walnut sauce, pine nut sauce, or mushroom sauce. Known since medieval times, croxetti found their true affirmation only in the Renaissance, until they appeared on the menu for a State lunch in the late Baroque period, offered by the Republic of Genoa to the ambassadors of Morocco. Today, they have become ambassadors of Ligurian taste and cuisine, receiving recognition as a “traditional Ligurian agri-food product.” They are made using wooden molds with a cylindrical shape.


4. Asparagus and Shrimp VeloutéGenuine and with an original taste, the asparagus and shrimp velouté is a refined soup that brings the freshness of spring to the table. Light, smooth, and nourishing, it is an authentic triumph for an elegantly rustic dinner, especially easy and quick to prepare. Excellent and unique if made with the violet asparagus from Albenga: a vegetable envied by the whole world. Attempts have been made to cultivate it in California, New Zealand, and Australia, but with poor results. Extraordinary for veloutés with a very fine and delicate taste. Paired with fish or shellfish, it achieves an original and exquisite definition.

asparago violetto di Albenga
Violet asparagus from Albenga (photo from https://www.asparagoviolettoalbenga.it/ )

5. Broad beans
What would spring be without broad beans? There’s no picnic, no lunch in the sun without these delicious legumes to shell together. Genoese people adore them with the famous Sant’Olcese salami, or with fresh Sardinian pecorino cheese. If you happen to come across one, don’t miss out on one of the many festivals dedicated to Broad Beans & salami, like the traditional one at the end of April in Sant’Olcese.
In Liguria, especially in the eastern area, fresh broad beans are also used to make pesto known as Pestun de fave or Marò. Its preparation has ancient origins, dating back to peasant families who prepared this paste to flavour dry bread. With its fresh and delicate taste, it’s excellent for dressing pasta or served as a sauce to accompany roast or grilled meat dishes.

Fave, salam e pecorino
Bean, salami and pecorino cheese

6. Canestrello di Brugnato
Soft, with a golden honey colour and shaped like a donut, probably born to make the bread that farmers carried to the fields tastier, the Canestrello di Brugnato is the pride of this ancient village in the Val di Vara. The Canestrello di Brugnato, delicious and tasty, differs from the classic canestrelli not in shape, always a donut, but in size and ingredients, among which honey and anise seeds stand out, giving it a unique taste.

canestrello di Brugnato (Foto da Forno di Germano a Brugnato)
canestrello di Brugnato (Photo from Forno di Germano a Brugnato, https://ilfornodigermano.it/)