Tocco alla genovese

Meat Sauce from Genoa

Preparation info

  • Serves

    4 to 6

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Italian Slow and Savory

Italian Slow and Savory

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 2004

  • About

Tocco is Genoese dialect for “sauce,” and the ample use of dried porcini, which adds an earthiness and depth of flavor, is a signature of this classic Genoese sugo. Here, you have two options: you can make the sauce with large pieces of meat, remove them, and use them for another course, or you can make it in the manner of ragù alla bolognese, with chopped meat. In the old days, a tocco was typically prepared with beef marrow for extra richness. Today, it is not always easy to find a butcher who carries marrowbones, so the marrow has been omitted here. Some Genoese cooks add a few tablespoons of crushed pine nuts with the porcini, or use white wine in place of the red. The sauce is traditionally used to dress piccage, which is Genoese dialect for ribbons and is used for the Ligurian equivalent of fettuccine or tagliatelle.