The “Genovese” is a typical dish of Neapolitan cuisine. It consists of pasta dressed with a sauce made of onions, beef (often the beef neck), and tomato paste that is slowly cooked for several hours until the meat becomes tender and the sauce thick and flavorful. The pasta typically used is “gramigna” or “pappardelle”.
The origins of the Genovese are not clear, but it is believed that the dish was brought to Naples by Genoese soldiers during the Kingdom of Naples era. The Neapolitan version of the dish differs slightly from the original, which is simpler and less elaborate. However, both share the use of onion and beef as main ingredients.
The Genovese is a very popular dish in Campania, where it is served on occasions such as family lunches and dinners. Its preparation requires time and patience, but the final result is a thick and flavorful sauce that pairs perfectly with the pasta.
Ingredients (for 4-6 people):
1.5 kg of beef (shoulder or neck) cut into pieces
2 kg of finely chopped onions
800 g of tomato paste
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt Black pepper
1 kg of pasta (pappardelle or gramigna)
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat some oil and sauté finely chopped onions until they are soft and translucent. Add the beef pieces and brown for a few minutes, until it is well browned on all sides. Add the tomato paste, mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Add some water, so that the meat is completely covered. Add salt, pepper, and bay leaves to taste. Cover the pot or Dutch oven and simmer on low heat for at least 3-4 hours, until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful. Stir occasionally and, if necessary, add more water. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in plenty of salted water, then drain it and toss it with the meat and onion sauce. Serve hot with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Please note that cooking times may vary depending on the size of the meat pieces and the type of pot or Dutch oven used. It is important to taste the sauce during cooking and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. The pasta should be cooked al dente and generously seasoned with the sauce for the best possible result.