Liguria – Cookbook Giveaway

Enter our US giveaway to win one of three copies of Liguria: The Cookbook: Recipes from the Italian Riviera by Laurel Evans.

Liguria: The Cookbook: Recipes from the Italian Riviera by Laurel Evans will definitely make my best books of 2021 list. Evans, an award-winning author and food writer, has been immersed in the cuisine of Liguria for 15 years, ever since her Italian boyfriend (now husband, and the photographer for this book) brought her to his family’s hillside villa in Moneglia on the Mediterranean coast. There, she delved into the kitchens, restaurants, and markets, building relationships with the chefs, shopkeepers, producers, and grandmothers who drive the local cuisine. This book showcases all that she discovered: a cuisine that is beautiful but humble, plant-based and waste-conscious at its core, with a particular spirit and history that she unravels for readers new to the region.

The imagery here is stunning whether it be of the tempting dishes, gorgeous landscape or of the people of Liguria. I particularly love Evans’ recipe for Pollo in Fricassea and am making it for company this coming Saturday. I also wish to try her Focaccia col Formaggio. I’ve made a version of this type of thin focaccia before and it is time to make it again especially since it always has a wow factor with guests.

Special thanks to the publisher for sharing the following recipes for our members to try now and for providing three copies of this title in our giveaway below.

Traditional pesto (Pesto tradizionale) Makes about 1 ⅓ cup, enough for 8 servings
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  • 3 cups (2 ½ ounces) tightly packed, fresh, small basil leaves, stems removed
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, halved and inner green germ removed
  • ¼ cup (1.2 ounces) pine nuts
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup, packed (3 ½ ounces) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ⅓ cup, packed (1 ounce) finely grated pecorino, preferably Fiore Sardo
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Special equipment: Mortar and pestle

The first time I tasted real pesto in Liguria, made in a mortar and pestle, I couldn’t believe my palate. It was beyond delicious, a completely different experience from the packaged, or even made-in-a-food-processor versions I tasted in the past.

Undoubtedly the most iconic dish of Liguria, pesto has made quite the journey since its humble beginnings. It is now wildly popular, in some form or another, the world over. However, I have to agree with the locals: It’s nearly impossible to eat a decent pesto outside the region, much less outside of the country. Even within Liguria, no two pestos are alike. The recipe varies from valleys to hilltops, from mother to child, from brother to sister. In Moneglia, my mother-in-law and her two sisters, who grew up in the same house and learned to cook from the same women, make three completely different pestos: one is creamier, one is heavier on the basil, one is chunkier. Whose is the correct one is a fiercely contested matter.

What all Ligurians do agree upon is that you should ideally prepare pesto in a mortar and pestle and seek out the absolute best ingredients: the sweetest, Italian pine nuts, the youngest, most tender basil leaves grown in and around Pra, outside Genoa, Ligurian extra-virgin olive oil from prized Taggiasche olives, Parmigiano-Reggiano aged over 24 months, and a perfect pecorino Fiore Sardo (a slightly smoky, raw sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia). While Ligurians are ferocious about fine quality of ingredients,
they are also a thrifty folk, so while frowned upon, walnuts are a permitted substitution for pine nuts by the official local guidelines. Arm yourself with patience and strong biceps for this recipe; the result is
well worth the effort.

Gently wash the basil in a tub of cold water, being careful not to bruise or smash it. Drain carefully and transfer to a clean kitchen towel to air dry or use a salad spinner. Using a mortar and pestle, grind garlic into a paste. Add pine nuts and continue to crush and mix with the pestle until finely ground. Add about half of the basil leaves and the salt. Grind (don’t pound) the mixture against the interior walls of the mortar in a circular motion into a smooth paste. The basil leaves should be finely shredded, not smashed or bruised. Add the other half of the basil leaves and continue grinding into a thick, dark green paste. Stir in both cheeses, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil, stirring constantly with the pestle until you obtain a bright green, creamy sauce. Add more oil, if desired, for a smoother consistency. Serve over pasta of your choice (see page 60 or 61 for recipes), being sure to thin the sauce first with a bit of the pasta cooking water. Alternatively, scoop pesto into a container and cover with a layer of olive oil to prevent oxidation. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Stockfish and potato stew (Stoccafisso accomodato) – Serves 6
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  • 4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 2 pounds presoaked stockfish
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large celery rib, diced
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed
  • 20 Taggiasche or Niçoise olives pitted
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 5 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped

With a shelf life of several years, dried stockfish was a favorite both on long sea voyages and in port cities like Genoa. This ancient Genovese recipe pairs dried cod with potatoes, pine nuts, and olives for a hearty, flavorful seafarer’s stew. Try to get your hands on presoaked stockfish to cut down on days of prep time, otherwise see page 113 for soaking instructions.

Fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in a teaspoon of salt; add the potato pieces and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add stockfish to vinegar, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bones and skin come apart easily from the flesh.

Drain fish and discard cooking water. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and pin bones, cut fish into large chunks, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat, add anchovies and cook over low heat, stirring often, until they dissolve, 3 to 5 minutes. Add carrot, celery, and onion; cook over medium heat until onion is translucent and beginning to brown around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add fish pieces, garlic, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Cook over high heat for a couple minutes, then add pine nuts, capers, olives, and wine. Bring to a boil, add chopped tomatoes, cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of hot water as necessary to keep fish from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add potatoes and a pinch of salt. Cover and continue to cook until potatoes are soft and creamy, adding a splash of water if fish and potatoes are dry,about 45 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste, garnish with remaining tablespoon of parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and serve warm.

Chickpea flatbread (Farinata) Makes one 11 × 17-inch tray of farinata
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  • 2 cups (7 ounces) chickpea flour
  • 2 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

While it’s often described as a “chickpea pancake” or “tart,” neither of those terms adequately describes the texture and consistency of this popular and ancient Ligurian street food. When made correctly, it should be thinner than a pancake, with a crisp, flakey exterior and a soft, almost custardy center. Naturally vegan and gluten-free, the recipe appears deceptively simple thanks to its short ingredient list: water, chickpea flour, salt, and oil. Don’t be fooled; the devil is in the details when it comes to making farinata. It’s traditionally cooked in a piping-hot, wood-fired oven in wide, round copper pans, so adapting the recipe to a home kitchen required quite some tweaking. The exact proportions of water to flour are fundamental here, as is the long rest time and, most of all, the thickness of the batter in the pan, which should never exceed ¼ of an inch (6 millimeters). Therefore, it is not advised to double the recipe or use a different size pan than the one indicated here.

Pour the chickpea flour int o a large bowl and toss with a fork to loosen. Slowly add lukewarm water, a little at a time, whisking until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rest at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.Every 2 hours stir the mixture and skim the surface to remove any foam that forms on top.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position and one in the highest position and preheat to 500°F. Place a rectangular 11-by-17-inch sheet pan or jelly roll pan on either rack in the oven while it preheats.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Do not let it come to a simmer; it should be hot but not smoking.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool until it is warm to the touch but not scalding. Add the salt to the farinata batter and stir to combine. Slowly pour the warm olive oil directly into the pan, swirling to coat. Pour the batter swiftly into the center of the pan. Bake on the bottom rack of oven for 20 minutes, or until farinata is light golden. If your oven permits, you may also bake it directly on the floor of the oven for this step.

Turn on the broiler to high and move the farinata to the top rack. Broil, watching closely, until a light brown crust forms on the surface, 2 to 4 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Cut into 12 rectangles and serve hot.

Pine nut and almond tart (Pinolata della Val d’Aveto) Makes one 12-inch tart
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For the crust:

  • 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon, melted, for brushing
  • 1 large egg

For the filling:

  • 1 cup (4 ½ ounces) blanched almonds, or 1 ⅓ cup almond flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

To finish:

  • 1 cup (4 ½ ounces) pine nuts
  • Powdered sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Pine nuts, I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, are a staple of Ligurian cuisine, providing crunch and flavor (and non-animal protein) to countless recipes in this book. This delicious and pretty tart pairs them with a chewy almond filling and a buttery pastry crust. There is no need to toast the nuts beforehand, as they will get plenty of color while baked on the surface of the tart.

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse briefly until a crumbly mixture forms. Add egg and pulse until combined into a smooth dough.

Remove from food processor, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.

Brush a light layer of melted butter on the bottom and sides a 12-inch tart pan.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out to about ⅛-inch thick on a lightly floured work surface, then transfer to prepared tart pan. Press to adhere the dough to the bottom and sides of pan. Trim off excess and briefly knead scraps into a ball, then press into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the dough with a fork; then transfer tart pan and leftover dough to the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine almonds and 2 tablespoons sugar in a blender or food processor and grind into a fine powder, set aside. If using almond flour, simply stir it together with 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites and salt on low speed until frothy, then raise to medium-high speed and beat until soft peaks form. Begin to add sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until glossy, stiff peaks form. Beat in almond extract and lemon zest. Slowly fold in ground almonds, being careful not to deflate the meringue. Scoop the mixture into the prepared tart shell and sprinkle evenly with pine nuts.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut into 6 ribbons, ¾-inch-wide each. Place them over the filling in a crosshatch pattern, pressing to adhere to the edge. Trim off excess. Transfer tart to the oven and bake until golden and cooked through, about 40 minutes. If the surface begins to darken before the filling is set, tent the tart with aluminum foil for remaining cooking time. Remove from oven and let cool completely in pan before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Rizzoli is offering three copies of this title in our US promotion. Entry options include answering the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you like to try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Once you log in and enter your member name you will be directed to the next entry option – the blog comment. After that, there are additional options that you can complete for more entries. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on December 12th, 2021.

Recipes are shared from Liguria: The Cookbook: Recipes from the Italian Riviera by Laurel Evans with permission of the publisher Rizzoli. All images © Emilio Scoti.

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Post a comment


  • inthebow  on  October 12, 2021

    Ligurian seafood feast (Cappon magro)

  • matag  on  October 12, 2021

    Focaccia with onions

  • stepspior  on  October 12, 2021

    Traditional pesto (Pesto tradizionale

  • Erobbins  on  October 12, 2021

    Silk Handkerchiefs

  • Lisap123  on  October 12, 2021

    Pine nut & almond tart!!!

  • DarcyVaughn  on  October 13, 2021

    Panissa salad

  • sarahawker  on  October 13, 2021

    Potato, cheese, and mint ravioli (Turle)

  • LeilaD  on  October 13, 2021

    Focaccia with onions (Focaccia con le cipolle)

  • Mtetpon  on  October 13, 2021

    Anything Focaccia

  • mcrimmins  on  October 13, 2021

    Mixed Pickled Vegetables

  • italiciousblog  on  October 13, 2021


  • hbakke  on  October 13, 2021

    Potato, cheese, and mint ravioli (Turle)

  • kwcollins  on  October 13, 2021

    Uncle Giovanni’s fried pumpkin ravioli (Barbagiuai)

  • infotrop  on  October 13, 2021

    Pumpkin tart

  • sayeater  on  October 13, 2021

    Seeing as how ’tis the season: Uncle Giovanni’s fried pumpkin ravioli

  • demomcook  on  October 13, 2021

    Lavender and rosemary risotto (Risotto lavanda e rosmarino)

  • kbennall  on  October 13, 2021

    I have had a pine nut tart in the back of my mind for years now – this seems a good one to start with!

  • dbranigan27  on  October 13, 2021

    I would try the Lavender and rosemary risotto.

  • thecharlah  on  October 13, 2021

    Pot roast and pasta sauce (Tócco)

  • zoraia  on  October 14, 2021

    Walnut Sauce

  • Siegal  on  October 14, 2021

    I want to make giardianara! It’s my fav

  • dhiza  on  October 14, 2021

    I would love to make Uncle Giovanni’s fried pumpkin ravioli (Barbagiuai).

  • banba1  on  October 15, 2021

    Trenette with pesto, green beans, and potatoes

  • MissKoo  on  October 15, 2021

    Uncle Giovanni’s fried pumpkin ravioli (Barbagiuai)

  • Shelley.b  on  October 15, 2021

    Meatless ravioli

  • LeMinou  on  October 15, 2021

    Focaccia with onions

  • Pamyoungvb  on  October 15, 2021

    Farinata. We had this while visiting the area and I have never been able to replicate it.

  • teamkies  on  October 16, 2021

    Fried milk

  • riley  on  October 16, 2021

    Genoa’s Christmas Cake

  • virjeania  on  October 16, 2021

    Summer salad

  • ravensfan  on  October 16, 2021

    Silk handkerchiefs (Mandìlli de Sæ)

  • Wende  on  October 16, 2021

    Stuffed squid

  • Leonard5854  on  October 16, 2021

    Green tart (for all my end-of-year Swiss chard)

  • LaurenE  on  October 16, 2021

  • bill_the_cat  on  October 16, 2021

    inolata della Val d’Aveto

  • Lem9579  on  October 17, 2021

    Spinaci alle Genovese

  • lsmedley  on  October 17, 2021

    Focaccia with onions

  • CatsintheKitchen  on  October 17, 2021

    Chestnut flour gnocchi

  • debbiehb  on  October 17, 2021

    Lavender and rosemary risotto (Risotto lavanda e rosmarino)

  • WGCook  on  October 17, 2021

    Ligurian-style sea bass (Branzino alla Ligure)

  • orchidlady01  on  October 18, 2021

    Chickpea flour fritters (Cuculli di ceci)

  • gilmonster  on  October 18, 2021

    Pumpkin tart

  • roxlet  on  October 18, 2021

    Traditional pesto

  • Dannausc  on  October 18, 2021

    Walnut sauce

  • cellenly  on  October 19, 2021

    Tomato and anchovy focaccia (Sardenaira)

  • melspot  on  October 19, 2021

    Easter Artichoke Tarte

  • tarae1204  on  October 19, 2021

    Cheese focaccia (Focaccia col formaggio)

  • sarahteertzah  on  October 19, 2021

    Mussels soup (Zuppa di muscoli)

  • oduong930  on  October 19, 2021

    Focaccia with onions

  • MarciK  on  October 20, 2021

    Pot roast and pasta sauce (Tócco)

  • redcurrant  on  October 20, 2021

    Extra-virgin olive oil shortbread cake

  • kmwyman  on  October 20, 2021


  • woodbird  on  October 21, 2021

    Pistachio cream floating islands

  • EasyBakeThis  on  October 22, 2021

    Mixed pickled vegetables

  • nvernon  on  October 25, 2021

    Chestnut flour gnocchi (Gnocchi di castagne)

  • ChicagoJen  on  October 27, 2021

    Stuffed zucchini blossoms, if only I could get me zucchini to grow!!

  • Laura1  on  October 28, 2021

    Potato, cheese, and mint ravioli (Turle)

  • cdagen  on  October 28, 2021

    Chickpea Flatbread

  • roxlet  on  October 28, 2021

    Silk handkerchiefs

  • neferkatie  on  October 28, 2021

    Ooh the pickled mixed vegetables

  • Sprungatlast  on  October 28, 2021

    Savory Rice Tart

  • stulled  on  October 31, 2021

    savory rice tart

  • InAHealthyKitchen  on  October 31, 2021

    Rosemary and Lavender Risotto

  • Aminata95  on  November 1, 2021

    Focaccia with onions

  • Shana.  on  November 1, 2021

    Traditional pesto

  • GreenhouseCheryl  on  November 1, 2021

    Trenette with pesto, green beans, and potatoes (Trenette al pesto con fagiolini e patate)

  • WildTree  on  November 4, 2021

    The pine nut and almond tart is beautiful to look at and surely delicious. This type of recipe is what I have in mind

  • youngsvnnhrs  on  November 4, 2021

    Onion tart (Torta di cipolle)

  • dtremit  on  November 5, 2021

    The meatless ravioli really fit how we’re eating lately!

  • TrishaCP  on  November 6, 2021

    Pumpkin tart

  • RickPearson54  on  November 6, 2021

    traditional pesto

  • sus1ecooks  on  November 6, 2021

    Branzino alla Ligure would be my first dive.

  • Bohrnsen  on  November 7, 2021

    That pesto looks fantastic. I’d try that first

  • Bohrnsen  on  November 7, 2021

    That pesto looks fantastic. I’d try that first.

  • HelenB  on  November 9, 2021

    Pine nut and almond tart

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  November 11, 2021

    I would like to make Uncle Giovanni’s fried pumpkin ravioli (Barbagiuai).

  • monasli  on  November 11, 2021

    Stuffed squid

  • sdadri  on  November 12, 2021

    fried dough

  • pacchiano  on  November 12, 2021


  • mirage  on  November 12, 2021

    Fish Ravioli!

  • ozfoodie  on  November 12, 2021

    Lavender and rosemary risotto

  • fbrunetti  on  November 13, 2021

    Fish ravioli

  • moralla  on  November 13, 2021

    Fish ravioli

  • RSW  on  November 15, 2021

    Fish ravioli (Ravioli di pesce)

  • JenjiD  on  November 15, 2021

    pine nut almond tart

  • mph993  on  November 17, 2021

    pistachio cream floating islands!

  • PeavineBlues  on  November 19, 2021


  • lauriesk  on  November 28, 2021

    Pot roast and pasta sauce

  • Shelmar  on  November 28, 2021

    Easter artichoke pie

  • justcooking  on  November 29, 2021

    paunch pasta filled with foraged green peas

  • Terrill  on  November 29, 2021

    Potato, cheese, and mint ravioli!

  • CookingPerson  on  November 30, 2021

    Chickpea Flatbread

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