La Genovese

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I’m going back to a recipe that I posted in my first years of blogging, La Genovese, which is a classic Neapolitan dish, or dishes for that matter. A roast cooked in the sauce that you dress the pasta with. It is a favorite of my husband and has become one of my favorites too. Continuing, slowly, with the dishes that my mother-in-law prepared when she was here, I couldn’t leave this one out. I had never actually followed the preparation of a genovese by anyone but my husband and I am so pleased that I did.

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I knew that there was an outrageous, tear-streaming amount of onions, but was somehow convinced that the meat that you needed was chunks of stew meat as opposed to a roast, never having attempted to make this on my own. I was also surprised that you don’t brown the meat at all before braising it in the onions, but put it all in the pot together, the result being very tender and deicious bites of meat and a sweet marmalade of onions to dress your pasta with.

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This is serious comfort food. On a recent trip to Naples, we went to a classic Neapolitan osteria above the neighborhood La Sanità called La Mattonella. With tiles on the walls that date back to the 1700’s and a genovese to swoon over. I have to confess though, my mother-in-law’s was far superior.


La Genovese

from Naples at Table by Arthur Schwartz

  • 2 pounds (approximately) chuck roast, tied or a chuck steak, we used spezzatino which is meat cut up for stew
  • 4 pounds onions, halved through the root end and finely sliced, about 12 cups (my husband will often use a mix of red, yellow and white onions, you can use a few onions for this to make a good stew)
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced (or ribboned)
  • 1 large, outside rib celery, finely diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 rounded tablespoons finely cut parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place the meat in a heavy-bottomed, 7- to 8-quart pot. Surround and cover the meat with the onions, carrot, celery, salt, parsley, marjoram, and 8 cups water. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered over medium-low heat, simmering gently but steadily, and stirring every so often. As the liquid reduces in the pot and the meat becomes exposed, make sure to turn the meat regularly – every 20 minutes or so – so that it cooks evenly.

After about 3 hours, most of the liquid should have evaporated, the onions should be almost creamy, and the meat should be tender. Even if the meat is not as tender as you would like, remove it and set it aside. It can be further tenderized when reheated.

Raise the heat under the onions and add the wine. Boil, stirring frequently, until the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Then continue to boil, stirring frequently, even constantly, until the sauce has reduced and thickened so much that when it is stirred you can see the bottom of the pot for a second. This can take as long as 20 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste at this point and cook another minute. (If, when reheating, the sauce seems too tight, stir in a little water to loosen it.) Season with plenty of freshly ground pepper. Correct the salt, if necessary.

Serve the meat with about 1/2 cup of sauce, save the rest of the sauce for your pasta (tomorrow’s post).

If the meat did not become entirely tender during its cooking with the onions, slice it and layer it with spoons of the sauce in a baking dish or casserole. Cover (with foil if necessary) and reheat in a 325-degree oven until heated through and almost fall-apart tender.


One Year Ago: frittelle di cavolfiori e baccalà & Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Two Years Ago: Stuffed Squid, Colcannon, Wild Mushroom Risotto & Fancy Pasta with Artichokes and Clams

Three Years Ago: a walk in the country, Gli antipasti della Lanternaia, I Primi della Lanternaia & La Cantina di Papa Ggiru

Four Years Ago: Meatloaf, Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms, Saffron and Red Wine, Farfalle with Butternut Squash, Olives and Grapes & Gemelli with Cauliflower and Saffron

Five Years Ago: Brasato

Six Years Ago: An interpretation of La Genovese, Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto & Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables

~ by italicious on February 9, 2015.

One Response to “La Genovese”

  1. I made this several years ago, in my pre-vegan days. It was excellent. Thanks for the photos.

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