The Christmas table in Genoa
It wouldn't be Christmas without the extraordinary richness of the Genoese cuisine. Let's start from the Christmas Eve dish, the Capponmagro: lean, because it is made of fish and therefore suitable for the "fasting" of the night before Christmas; an authentic triumph of taste and colours. A pyramid of layers of different fish and colourful vegetables, supported by a base of "sailor's biscuit" moistened with vinegar and covered with fragrant green sauce, with majestic scampi and prawns to crown the masterpiece. Cappon Magro recipe: https://www.visitgenoa.it/node/6135.
Christmas lunch can start, for the more traditionalists, with Natalini in capon broth, long macaroni served in broth and enriched with morsels of sausage; or with stuffed lettuces, also in broth, another example of how Genoese cuisine can invent rich flavours from very simple ingredients and techniques. Recipe: https://www.visitgenoa.it/node/6144 . And for the main course, a colourful Cima alla Genovese, a recipe that ennobles a poor cut of meat with a filling of ingredients that are basic but full of flavour. The recipe for Cima: https://www.visitgenoa.it/node/6136.
On St Stephen's Day, however, the stars of the show will be Raieu cö u toccu, or ravioli with meat sauce: the meat sauce is prepared by cooking a whole piece of meat (a 'tocco', precisely) for a long time in tomato sauce flavoured with herbs, dried mushrooms and pine nuts. The ravioli, on the other hand, are made with the leftover meat from the day before, accompanied by wild herbs from the fields, such as borage. Ravioli recipe:https://www.visitgenoa.it/node/6149 . Toccu recipe: https://www.visitgenoa.it/node/6156
Finally, dessert, with an absolute star of the Genoese cuisine: the Pandolce, or Pandoçe. This is a classic bread enriched with candied fruit, sultanas, pine nuts and fennel, which can be found in two versions. The oldest and most traditional one, which has been reported since the times of Andrea Doria, is high and has a very long, laborious leavening process; the more recent, and richer, version is flat, rich in butter and with a consistency closer to a shortcrust pastry. Traditional Pandolce recipe: https://www.visitgenoa.it/node/6145. Pandolce basso (flat sweetbread): https://www.visitgenoa.it/node/6146.