Genovese sauce

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Genovese sauce
Genovese sauce with candele pasta served at the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, Campania, Italy
Place of originItaly
Region or stateCampania
Created byGenovese immigrants
Invented15th or 16th centuries
Main ingredientsOnion
Ingredients generally usedBeef, veal or pork

Genovese sauce is a slow-cooked onion and meat sauce associated with Italy's Campania region, especially Naples—typically served with paccheri, ziti or candele pasta—and sprinkled with grated cheese.

Genovese may be prepared with inexpensive cuts of beef, pork, veal or sausage, but typically share and emphasize slow-cooked onions. Recipes may cite the ramata di Montoro, a yellow onion with copper-colored skin.[1]

Likely introduced to Naples from the northern Italian city of Genoa during the Renaissance, Genovese has since become associated with south Italy, and especially Campania.


Despite its name, which means 'in the style of Genoa', Genovese sauce is a principal pasta sauce of Naples and an important part of its culinary history, having been introduced to the city in the 15th or 16th centuries.[2][3] The sauce may have been brought by Genovese immigrants or merchants, at a time when Genoa and Naples were two of Italy's most important ports.[2][4] It could also be referring to its inventor's name, since Genovese is a widespread surname in Campania.[5]

The recipe's onions may reflect a French influence, resembling boeuf à la mode.[2] During the mid 19th century, 'salmon in Hollandaise and Genovese sauce' was served in the Le Grand Véfour restaurant of the Palais-Royal in Paris as a luxury dish.[6]

Genovese sauce is not to be confused with pesto from Genoa and Liguria, nor with salsa genovese, a red wine and vegetable condiment for fish,[7] nor with the sauce génevoise from Lake Geneva, again served with fish.


The sauce is prepared by sautéing either beef or veal with onions, and slowly cooking for two to ten hours.[2][4][8] The onions are typically accompanied by minced carrots and celery in what is known as a soffritto.[2][3][4][8][9]

The slow cooking of the onions is especially important for the sauce's flavor,[10] and is facilitated by incremental additions of white wine, stock, or both.[2][4] Genovese is typically served with the large, cylindrical pasta, paccheri, but also rigatoni, ziti or candele — all favored because their shape can hold the sauce.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "La Genovese". The Grand Wine Tour. August 1, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Seed, Diane (2012). The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces. Random House. pp. 137–8.
  3. ^ a b c May, Tony (2005). Italian Cuisine: The New Essential Reference to the Riches of the Italian Table. Macmillan. pp. 31–32.
  4. ^ a b c d Licino, Hal. "The Greatest Pasta Sauce You've Never Tasted". Hubpages. Retrieved 23 July 2013.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Asimov, Eric (28 August 2002). "Restaurants: the cooking of Naples, pure and simple". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Kingston, Ralph (2012). Bureaucrats and Bourgeois Society: Office Politics and Individual Credit in France 1789-1848. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 141.
  7. ^ Plotkin, Fred (1997). Recipes from Paradise: Life & Food on the Italian Riviera. Little, Brown and Company. p. 86. ISBN 0316710717.
  8. ^ a b Alberts, Bonnie. "Cooking with Giuseppe – Paccheri alla Genovese". Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  9. ^ Schwartz, Arthur (1998). Naples at Table: Cooking in Campania. HarperCollins. p. 4.
  10. ^ Rosentals, John (31 May 1990). "THE Sheraton Hobart has added more variety to the theme nights it has been running in the hotel's Gazebo Restaurant". Hobart Mercury.