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.
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!
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