Cima (stuffed veal breast)

With a reputation for being parsimonious or ‘tight’ with their money, urban myths in the city say that this dish was invented in the 16th century so that the Genoese could save money on meat, by filling plates with less expensive ingredients. Whether it’s true or not, the dish has become one of the richest in Genoese culinary tradition.


  • 700 g of veal bacon, cut in a single thin piece, then sown into a bag with an opening at one end;
  • half a brain;
  • 200 g of offal;
  • 200 g of lean veal meat;
  • extra virgin olive oil;
  • 6 eggs;
  • 100 g of grated parmesan;
  • 30 g of pine kernels;
  • 200 g of fresh peas;
  • a few leaves of marjoram;
  • 2 cloves of garlic;
  • 1 onion;
  • 1 stalk of celery;
  • 1 carrot;
  • salt and pepper.

Brown the diced veal meat and offal (previously boiled and with the membrane removed). Allow to cool then cut into very small pieces. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl with the parmesan cheese and add the chopped garlic and marjoram, the pine kernels, boiled peas, pepper and salt.
Mix well and fill two thirds of the meat sack. Then sew up the open end with thread suitable for cooking, wrap the cima in a white cloth and immerse in warm water that has been salted and flavoured with the carrot, onion and celery.
Boil slowly for at least 2 hours, poking the cima with a needle every so often so that it doesn’t open. When cooked, drain and remove the sheet. Then place the cima between two plates, with a weight on top, and allow to cool for about 2 hours.

The recipes are taken from the guide “Dining in Genoa”, by M&R Comunicazione, available at the Tourist Information Offices