When in Sorrento, I finally realized that the Genovese sauce, despite the name, is a Neapolitan recipe. Apparently, this onion sauce was invented by a cook from Genova: there where many people from the Northern city working in Naples’ immense port.
Some say it was created by a Neapolitan cook instead, who worked in the street called “dei Genovesi.”
No matter the story, if you ask any person from Naples if he wants a big bowl of Genovese meat sauce pasta, the answer will be an enthusiastic YES, with the only condition that it is cooked the proper time: at least two hours.
This long and slow cooking method transforms the Genovese sauce ingredients: onions become a creamy and sweetish condiment, and overcooked meat becomes tender and quite tasty.
The onion sauce is used to season pasta, while the meat is served afterward, as the second course of the Sunday lunch.
The pasta used for the Genovese sauce recipe is usually “ziti” – cut in pieces before cooking it; otherwise, it’s almost impossible to eat -, but you can also use fusilli or other short pasta shapes.