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Genoa Traditional Pansoti Pasta

Pansoti are fabulous little ravioli stuffed with foraged herbs and garlic, and served with a walnut, marjoram and garlic white sauce. The word 'pansoti' in the Ligurian dialect of which Genoa is located, means belly - the Italian word 'pancia'. The form of the ravioli are belly shaped as one would so expect. As traditional as tasty they are the epitome of a local cooking, zero km recipe. A rich meatless pasta that has mouths watering across the region and Riviera.


Ligurian wild herbs: dandelion, nettle and borage with no less than seven varieties to be used in the making of Pansoti
Ligurian wild herbs: dandelion, nettle and borage with no less than seven varieties to be used in the making of Pansoti

Wild herbs from the rich and abundant Ligurian landscape are the key ingredients for this traditional pasta, including dandelion, nettle and borage with no less than seven varieties to be used for a plate of Pansoti pasta. These leaves are boiled for a few minutes and chopped to make up the filling known as 'preboggion' depending on the dialect, along with egg, parmesan cheese, olive oil, marjoram and garlic. This deep green filling is almost pesto like in texture and colour and could be used as a pasta sauce in its own right. The preboggion can be bought in the local markets sold in bunches, depending on the season. The seasonality of Italian food is second to none. Prescinseua cheese (derived from the Genoese word 'presû' and means 'cheese rennet'), typical of the province of Genoa, is used in the filling but where this is not possible, ricotta is used.


Pasta is made in the usual way with flour and eggs and rolled out flat into long, wide, thin strips to enable the placement of each teaspoon portion of sumptuous filling. The belly like ravioli are then individually folded and cut into mouthful size bites. The pasta is cooked in salted boiling water for around 10 minutes and drained.



The sauce is a mix of garlic, walnuts, parmesan, breadcrumbs soaked in milk and marjoram. Blitzed up together this creamy white sauce is the perfect accompaniment for the pansoti ravioli pasta. Some prefer to eat the pansoti with sage and butter rather than the traditional walnut sauce.




The Pansoti are also found in other shapes, triangular or half-moon. Every classic Italian recipe has been adjusted by the countless 'nonna', grandmothers up and down the country who make similar but slightly different recipes. The shape is the only things that differs as the taste is always wonderful.


This is Italy we are talking about.

There is a strong tradition of Pansoti in the restaurants and smaller cafes of Genoa and this typical Genoese dish is not one to be missed. Sit back and enjoy with a nice, cool refreshing glass of your favourite Ligurian white wine...





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