Corzetti pasta with Genovese meat sauce.
Corzetti pasta with Genovese meat sauce (al tocco di carne) is a traditional recipe from Liguria, North-West Italy. This recipe is super scrumptious for two reasons. Firstly the corzetti (also called croxetti) are divine tasty pasta medallions with beautiful designs stamped on them. Secondly, the rich and flavourful sauce doubles up as a pasta sauce and a pot roast main course.
Corzetti al tocco di carne.
In Genoa, the word ‘tocco’ means sauce or ‘sugo’ in standard Italian. This recipe is the most traditional way they make and serve meat sauce in Liguria. Unlike other pasta meat sauces or ragu, this is made with one piece of meat, usually beef. But, some people use veal instead.
One course or two?
The beef for this corzetti pasta with Genovese meat sauce is braised slowly in a delicious rich herby tomato, stock and wine sauce with porcini mushrooms. It is then removed from the sauce to be served as a main course, while the sauce is served with pasta as a first course or primo.
As I have mentioned in other posts, Italians often eat pasta as a first course, followed by a main course of meat or fish. However, the meat in this corzetti pasta with Genovese meat sauce can be shredded or chopped into small pieces and served with the pasta. This is the best idea if you prefer a one plate meal. Alternatively you can save it for another day and even freeze it. (Don’t forget to keep some sauce back to serve with the beef, if serving the meat separately).
A Medieval pasta!
Corzetti or croxetti are a type of pasta that dates back to the Middle Ages. The designs on these pasta medallions are usually made using a hand engraved wooden mold or stamp that has 2 designs engraved on it. (one for each face of the pasta). In the past, noble families had their family coat of arms stamped into the pasta! You can read more about this unusual pasta on my corzetti or croxetti post.
If you can’t find or make corzetti yourself, this Genovese meat sauce is great with other types of short pasta, such as penne, orecchiette or rigatoni. It’s also really delicious with ricotta filled ravioli! Whichever way you serve it, I’m sure you and your guests will love it.
I’ve added this recipe to my list of go-to dishes to make when I’m entertaining because it’s so unique and yet easy to make and delicious to boot! Try it and you’ll definitely want to add it to your list too!
If you make this corzetti pasta recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. So, please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
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Other cook once eat twice pasta recipes.
- Orecchiette with braciole (beef rolls)
- Italian braised pork ribs with pasta
- Pasta with braised veal and onions
Corzetti pasta with Genovese meat sauce (al tocco di carne)
- 400 g corzetti or croxetti pasta medallions (14oz) you can also use other pasta
- 500 g lean beef (1lb) braising or stewing beef works well
- 60 g dried porcini mushrooms (2oz) I used frozen and fresh are delicious too
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 2 carrots washed and finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks washed and finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove peeled and finely chopped
- 500 g sauce tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (1lb) sauce tomatoes will need to be peeled. Cherry tomatoes can be left whole if very small
- 1 small sprig rosemary chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 handful fresh parsley chopped
- 1/2 cup beef stock ( I used homemade)
- 1 glass red wine (in Liguria they use Barbera)
- 60 g Parmigiano cheese (2oz) grated
- salt for pasta and to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- If using dried porcini, soak them in warm water for at least 30 mins, then squeeze the water out and chop them.
- Chop the garlic, onion, celery and carrot finelyand sauté together in the olive oil in a frying pan, iron skillet or pot roast pan , add the meat and brown on all sides for 10 minutes.
- Add some choppped rosemary leaves and parsley and salt and pepper to taste then pour in the red wine and cook on a high heat until the alcohol evaporates.
- Cut the peeled tomatoes into cubes or halves (small cherry tomatoes can be left whole) add them to the meat with the porcini mushrooms, bay leaves and half a cup of beef stock. Continue cooking over a low heat, half-covered, for at least 1 hour. When the meat is fork tender, remove it from the sauce and remove the bay leaves.
- While the meat is cooking. Put a pan of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.
- Drain the pasta and plate it. Season first with some grated Parmesan and add some sauce. Serve with some more chopped parsley and extra cheese if required. The meat can be sliced and served as a main course or shredded and added to the pasta sauce.
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I am very confused. Despite being Italian and with two Italian grandmothers, I thought I would have known about Al Tocco di Carne, but I only learned of it the other day. Which brings me to my question: one recipe I saw added a lot of broth and the one here does not. Can you help me figure out why? The one with a lot of broth is just too thin so I think I should try your recipe instead next time, but is there a way I can “save” what I have already made? The one I made has very little tomato paste and no fresh tomatoes either.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Hi Diana, Thank you for your comment. Like all traditional Italian recipes there are slightly different versions of this one. Most the ones I have seen have tomatoes or tomato passata. The amount of wine and broth does vary. To ‘save yours’ I would reduce and thicken your broth by simmering it after removing the meat and perhaps sauté a few cherry tomatoes with garlic and add them to the reduced broth. Then serve as preferred. Hope I’ve been of help. Do let me know.
Laury Burr says
Well, one learns something new every day! For a few months (= “since coronavirus lockdown”!) I’ve been building myself a recipe database, focused on fish. Just decided to extend into pasta, discovered corzetti – and now this recipe! It’s only a week since I learnt of ragù napoletana, and never expected another part of the country to have a two-in-one dish! Suffice to say that in the near future I’ll not only be shopping for a pasta maker – but also a corzetti stamp!
Hi Laury, thanks for your comment. Corzetti is a fabulous pasta. I have a couple of other recipes with it, one with homemade corzetti. I loved making this pasta and am sure you will too whichever recipe you choose to serve it with! The world of Italian pasta is so varied, interesting and delicious. It’s true that most 2 in 1 pasta dishes come from the South but this Northern one is one of my favourites! Am sure you’ll find a few other pasta recipes here to add to your database! All the best from Verona
Wonderful to know about this type of pasta, love your dishes on this site so unique and well explained.
I love the stamped pasta with the simplicity of this dish! This really is a wonderful, rich and tasty comfort food!
Chichi Uguru says
That meat sauce is oh my yum!! I haven’t tried this kind of pasta before. Would be trying it out.
Lisa Bryan says
Wow – I’ve never heard of this pasta before but it looks amazing and so unique! Almost too pretty to eat (almost). 😉
Such beautiful pasta I’ve never tried before! This looks like a delicious recipe!
I am now on a mission to make corzetti pasta! And that meat sauce just looks to DIE for. This is my kind of comfort food and absolutely the food I cannot live without. I’d happily say goodbye to chocolate but I could never say goodbye to pasta!
Alina | Cooking Journey Blog says
Such a good dinner idea! I saw corzetti pasta in store, but didn’t know what to do with it. Great step by step photo instructions!
Pam Greer says
This meat sauce sounds amazing! I have never heard of corzetti pasta before! I hope I can find some, I’d love to try it.
Thank you Pam! Yes this meat sauce is melt in your mouth good. I love the fact that it can be used for 2 dishes. I think you can find corzetti in US. I know Eataly sells it! Hugs from Verona Jacqui
This sauce looks amazing! I love the story of the pasta! What is normally stamped on them now? I wish we could find them in the states!
Thanks Beth, yes this sauce is really delicious. Nowadays, corzetti are stamped with different designs such as National emblems, the pasta makers trademark and even trees or boats. It’s also possible to have a corzetti stamp made to your own design! I know that Eataly sell corzetti, so I think you can find it in US. Love from Verona Jacqui
robert . says
There is a site on Etsy which sells corzetti and also dies to make your own!! Eataly also sells them in a package, as does yummy bazaar.
Corina Blum says
This pasta sounds so rich and delicious! I have never seen pasta with a stamp on it before and I love the idea of noble families having their own stamps on their pasta in the past – It just shows how seriously they took their pasta!
Thanks Corina! I love this dish both for the rich and tasty 2 in 1 sauce and the use of a rather unique historical pasta! All the best from Verona. Jacqui