Corzetti or croxetti is a unique kind of pasta from Liguria, in north-west Italy. This pasta originated in Liguria. However, they also eat it just across the border with Piedmont, in Alessandria province and in Emilia-Romagna, where it is called crosetti.
2 types of Corzetti or Croxetti.
Actually, there are two types of corzetti or croxetti in Liguria. One type comes from the Val Polcevera, a valley that runs from the region’s capital Genova up into the mountains behind the city. Known as corzetti valpolceveraschi, this pasta is circles of pasta dough which are twisted into an ‘8’shape. The other type of corzetti is flat round pasta medallions embossed with an emblem or design. Printed corzetti are called corzétti stanpæ or corzetti del Levante. This type of corzetti originated in the Varese Ligure area in the province of Spezia.
Stamped or printed corzetti.
In Italian, corzetti del Levante are described as ‘printed’ or ‘stamped’ because of the design imprinted on the pasta. This decoration is done with a wooden mold or stamp with 2 designs carved into it (one for each side of the pasta medallion). Some believe that the reason for the designs was to help the sauce cling better to the pasta.
Even today, there are some artisan shops in the historical center of Genoa where there are craftsmen still making these molds. In addition to the handicraft production, there is also an industrial production of corzetti pasta which is normally carried out using ravioli machines with bronze dies.
A little corzetti or croxetti history.
Historically, this pasta dates back to the Middle Ages. Some food historians believe the name derives from the crozetto, a 14th century Genoan coin. Both the crozetto and corzetti pasta medallions traditionally had a cross on one side. So, both names most probably come from the Latin word ‘crux’ meaning cross.
During the Renaissance, noble families had their cooks stamp the pasta circles with a mold that depicted their coat of arms. This mold was handed down from generation to generation and was a gift that a father-in-law made to his daughter-in-law at the time of her wedding.
Corzetti as wedding favours!
Nowadays, the noble coat of arms have been replaced by other designs. Handmade corzetti or croxetti usually have a different design on each side of the pasta medallion. One side has a simple design and the other a more intricate one. The designs can be a cross, a regional coat of arms or the pasta maker’s trademark.
More modern designs such as palm trees or a sailboat or fruit are also popular. In addition, it is traditional to give this pasta as wedding favours or to mark a special occasion. When this happens, the family will order the mold or stamp with the design of their choice and then make the pasta at home! These designs often include the initials of the newly-weds.
I have long wanted to try this pasta and even ordered some corzetti stamps online. Unfortunately, my stamps got lost when we did some renovation work in our house and I haven’t been able to find them. Recently, a friend gave me 2 packets of dried corzetti. I served the first one in a Ligurian recipe called ‘al tocco di carne’, meaning meat sauce.
Tocco is the local dialect word for sauce. This very tasty recipe involves slow cooking a piece of beef in a tomato, wine, and stock sauce with porcini mushrooms. It’s traditional to eat the sauce with the corzetti and the beef separately as a main course! It was delicious! As was the pasta.
Traditional corzetti or croxetti recipes.
Another typical and traditional Ligurian recipe for corzetti or croxetti is with pesto genovese, potatoes, and green beans. In Liguria, they also eat this pasta with a walnut or pine nut sauce, a mushroom sauce called tocco dei funzi, or a light cream sauce. In addition, corzetti are also often served very simply with olive oil, pine nuts, and fresh marjoram. I am planning to order some more corzetti stamps because I am dying to make this pasta myself.
If you’d like to watch corzetti being made, check out the video below from Pasta Grannies. Also, both corzetti or croxetti pasta and the wooden pasta stamps are for sale online, even outside of Italy. I am planning to buy mine from a family run company of woodcarvers in Tuscany called Florentine touch. They make beautiful corzetti stamps and ship overseas too! In fact, I’m even thinking of ordering a stamp with The Pasta Project engraved in it!
So, why not give this pasta a try or buy a stamp and make it yourself?
Recipes with corzetti pasta on The Pasta Project
- Corzetti al tocco di carne
- Corzetti with pesto genovese, potatoes and beans
- Homemade corzetti with majoram and pine nuts.
Sandie Reed says
I really wanted to get one of the Florence carved stamps. However, despite being contacted
several times on separate platforms, there has been no response. I am also trying to find out whether items sent to the UK sustain a extra charge as a non-EU country.
Hi Sandie, I’m sorry to hear you’re having problems contacting Florentine Touch. As far as I know they have no website, just an Etsy account where they respond to queries. Is that where you tried to contact them? https://www.etsy.com/it/shop/FlorentineTouch?ref=shop_sugg
Im making some this weekend! Thank you for the post
There is a great little restaurant here in Portland, Maine that serves these on occasion. The Chef/Owner is from Liguria and has taught classes here on how to make them. If you are ever up this way check him out at Solo Italiano – Marco
Chef Mireille says
these look so pretty – I love learning all about the different regional styles or pasta you show us
Stephanie Simmons says
I’ve never seen pasta like this! It kind of reminds me of communion wafers, haha! The molds used to make it look lovely! Thanks for sharing the history of this cool pasta 🙂
I’m happy you found this post interesting Stephanie! It’s true this pasta looks like communion wafers! I hadn’t thought of that!
Stacy Streuli says
I love this – I’ve been to Liguria 3 times but never had these! We adore the Trofi pasta with Ligurian/Genovese pesto though 🙂 will be on the lookout for these on our next visit!
I’m sure you’ll find this pasta next time you are in Liguria Stacy! You should also look out for a corzetti stamp to be able to make it at home too!
Adriana Lopez Martin says
Such an art to make corzetti and so beautiful. Have never seen this pasta in the United States I wish I coudl try it. All yoru options look spectacular.
Thanks so much Adriana! I don’t know if this pasta is sold in US but maybe it can be bought online. You can definitely buy a corzetti stamp online, to make your own!
Jan Johnson says
You can order it on line. That is how I found mine
Wow! This is so cool! I want to try this pasta, or even better…stamp it with my own logo.
Your own logo would be very cool Linda! I have been thinking of doing the same!
beautiful! I’ve never seen this kind of pasta before. A lot of creative dishes can be made from Corzetti pasta.
Thank you Vanessa. I’m happy you like this pasta. Yes it can be used in a lot of delicious dishes!
That’s really interesting to hear the history of that type of pasta. I just got married recently and now I want to order a stamp with our initials : ) The meat sauce looks perfect for once the weather gets colder! Thanks for sharing this recipe.
A stamp with your initials would be so romantic Tara! The meat sauce recipe is really good and can be served with other pasta of course!
I am such a pasta lover. I have NEVER seen this before. What a presentation this would make for dinner guests. I will have to visit some stores to see if I can find this.
dikla farnces says
This is so cool and pretty! The Potato Green beans really got my attention!
I knew that pasta goes beyond angel hair spaghetti but no idea how much more there is to it!
I have literally never heard of this and now I want to make it asap!
Kelly Anthony says
I have never seen or heard of this type of pasta. I love learning new things especially when it comes to new food. Thanks for sharing all the good info.
Oh, wow. I’ve never even heard of this kind of pasta. As a huge pasta lover, I clearly need to fix that. Looks delicious!
Stine Mari says
Wow this really adds a special flare to pasta dishes! I have never seen anything like it before, that’s so interesting!
I really enjoyed your piece on corzetti stanpae. I am headed to the Cinque Terra and will be sure to try some there! Loved the Pasta Grannies video, too!
Thanks so much Suzanne! I’m thrilled you like this post. There are so many interesting and delicious types of pasta here in Italy and I love discovering them and sharing the history and recipes with others. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the Cinque Terra! I hope you get to try some corzetti there and perhaps even buy a corzetti stamp to make your own at home! All the best from Verona!