How to make Corzetti, one of Italy's most iconic and traditional handmade pastas

What are Corzetti?

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In Liguria they are called corsetti or corzetti, crosetti, corxetti, which are three types of traditional fresh pasta products: those from the Levante region, those from the Polcevera Valley and the so-called "advantage" pasta typical of the Nervia Valley. The most traditional sauce was made of melted butter, fresh marjoram, pine nuts and parmesan cheese, but meat and mushroom sauce is also classic

What are the ingredients?

  • Wheat flour
  • Eggs
  • Salt
  • Water

How to prepare Corzetti?

Knead the wheat flour with the egg yolks, salt and enough water to make an elastic dough; then roll out into thin sheets and carve with the wooden mould. After drying well in the open air, you can cook them in salted water, drain and season with layers of the chosen sauce.

Traditional Corzetti

Once the dough has been created, instead of rolling out into sheets as other pastas, instead, tear off pieces of dough roughly the size of a large chickpea, which can then be stretched with your fingers and compressed at the edges, creating the desired shape. 

Classic version from Levante and Novi Ligure

They resemble small disks made from fresh pasta that measure about 6 cm and have decorative patterns on both side that are created by a wooden mould; these moulds typically have family or pasta makers' coats of arms stamped on them. They are widespread in Levante Ligure but also in neighbouring Piedmontese lands (especially Novi Ligure). According to some, they took their name from the small cross originally engraved on the surface to hold the sauce that was later replaced by a more complex coat of arms design or other images. There is also an intriguing explanation that likens them to the Apulian orecchiette, a shape of Provençal origin widespread in Liguria and Apulia during the medieval period.

In Genoa they took the name corzetti, and were produced at that time in large quantities and sold on, typically using a standard mould design for the purposes of mass-production.

The 'advantageous' version from the Nervia Valley

For Ligurians, the classic accompaniment for pasta is with vegetables, this is because wheat has long replaced meat, while the addition of vegetables added some variety and much needed vitamins. This version is also called "farfalloni," while the term 'advantageous' probably referred to the savings made by using whole-wheat flour as it was less expensive than other types.

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