My last post was on Genoese meat ravioli, one of the most traditional dish of our Region. Unfortunately I did not have enought time to prepare and post also the recipe of their usual seasoning: “tocco” . So I fix it …though with some weeks of delays…
“Tocco” is the traditional Genoese meat sauce. Don’t call it ragù nor bolognese, it’s a different thing. It’s a sauce made by a big piece of beef (chuck is the best part) slow – slow – cooked under stock for at least 3/4 hours. The more it cooks the more all its juices come out and mix with the flavors of the other ingredients: the veggies of the soffritto, dried porcini, tomato paste, fresh herbs and white wine. You put it on fire early in the morning and it will keep you company in the kitchen, softly simmering below the lid, until lunch.
The result may be very liquid, this is why we usually water down a spoon of flour which thickens the sauce, though it shall remain light, a velvety vail that softly covers and embraces your pasta.
The piece of over cooked meat can be served sliced separately or can be minced finely for preparing meat balls. Do not give into the temptation of blending it into the sauce! You will get an horrible texture, a horrible color and your long cared sauce will be a total failure (I can speak for my own experience….).
A great lover of Genoese ravioli seasoned with”tocco” was Nicolò Paganini, our devil of the violin. It seems that despite his attitude and his popularity as a rockstar of the past, the musician also had a marked inclination for the stove. So much so that for Genoese ravioli and the Genoese meat sauce he left its recipe (the one you see above) , today preserved in the library of the Congress, in Washington (it was the year 1839).
Talkning about Nicolò Paganini, I cannot but mention that in these days in Genoa the Paganini Genova Festival is taking place. From 2 to 28 October many concert, exhibitions and events linked to our rock star are taking place in town to celebrate his genius.