Zembi d’arzillo, the Ligurian fish ravioli

Jump to recipe

Large fish ravioli – round or square – are characteristic of the entire Ligurian coast. The filling consists of white fish flesh (preferably rock fish, very tasty), escarole and borage.

As to the curious name of this preparation, “zembi” might come from the Arabic word “zembil”, the basket of twisted leaves made for transporting fish, reminding us of the close connection that Liguria had with the Arab countries during the middle ages. Whilst the word “arzillo” in Genoese dialect is the pungent fragrance of seaweed that grows  between the rocks right by the sea.

Liguria seafood ravioli recipe

These ravioli are usually served both with a very simple sauce made of fresh tomatoes and basil or with a fish sauce.

Here you will find one of my fav fish sauces: simple, velvety and not overwhelming. It is made with the bones of the fish you use for the filling, few clams, fresh cherry tomatoes and parsley. 


One tip: you can prepare both the ravioli and their sauce in advance and then freeze them. You can take them out the very same day you want to  serve them on the table. You can defrost the sauce in the microwave, whilst the ravioli must  be put in the boiling water still frozen. Very easy!

Liguria seafood ravioli



Get my monthly newsletter with fresh recipes, my latest food adventures, upcoming events, and lots more from the sunny Italian Riviera!

Ciao! I’m Enrica

a home cook, food researcher and experience curator born and bred in Liguria.
I study, tell, cook, share and teach Ligurian cuisine and the culture surrounding it.
Here we celebrate Liguria’s gastronomic diversity and richness through its recipes, producers, traditions and shops.

Discover my cookbook

Book an on-line
cooking class

Join my cooking
course on-demand

You may also like

Genoa style artichokes frittata: february.

Genoa style artichokes frittata: february.

February is the month when, here in Liguria, the first artichokes appear on the stalls of the market. The most coveted, the best, are the artichokes of Albenga, better known as thorny violet artichokes of Albenga (carciofo violetto di Albenga). Their peculiarity? The...

read more
Pumpkin Farinata

Pumpkin Farinata

If in Liguria you talk about farinata, everyone thinks of farinata genovese , the batter of water and chickpea flour cooked in the oven in large copper pans (named “testi”). Everyone, though, except the inhabitants of Sestri Ponente,  an ancient large district of...

read more

Join me on my food journeys