Ziti Alla Genovese in white bowl with a glass of wine

Ziti Alla Genovese – Pasta with Stewed Beef

Ziti Alla Genovese – This classic pasta from Naples is braised for hours in a creamy onion sauce with stewed meat. This recipe is perfect for a traditional Italian Sunday lunch from Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking by Vicky Bennison.

Ziti Alla Genovese in white bowl with a glass of wine
Ziti Alla Genovese – Pasta with Stewed Beef

Ziti Alla Genovese – This classic pasta from Naples is braised for hours in a creamy onion sauce with stewed meat. This recipe is perfect for a traditional Italian Sunday lunch from Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking by Vicky Bennison.

Ziti Alla Genovese in white filigreed bowl with fork

With all of the hustle and bustle of everyday life – and especially this time of the year – I felt compelled to slow down my pace and find joy in cooking with love and intention. And to me, there’s nothing more intentional than cooking a stew, over the stove top, without the help of a pressure cooker, Instant Pot, or even a slow cooker.

To me, those hours of simmering are evident when you tuck into the meat so tender and a sauce so rich that you remember how gratifying cooking can be, the old-fashioned way. Perhaps even the way our grandmas taught us. Comfort cooking, if you will.

Speaking of grannies, I was happy to welcome Vicky Bennison to the podcast to discuss her newly released cookbook. Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking (affiliate link) explores Italy’s beloved nonnas’ heartwarming recipes beyond homemade pasta. These are the regional recipes that bring comfort to their Italian families. 

With a comforting stew in mind, I made her Ziti Alla Genovese – Pasta with Stewed Beef!

Pasta Grannies cookbook that the Ziti Alla Genovese recipe came from

How to Make Ziti Alla Genovese

According to Vicky, no one knows why this pasta dish from Naples is named after the city of Genova. One theory suggests that Pasta Genovese came from the many Genovese chefs in Naples in the 15th century. Whatever reason or method, ziti alla Genovese is a comforting pasta with stewed beef and onions that have been braised for hours until the meat succumbs to a fork with tender shreds and the onions transform into a creamy sauce.

The meat and sauce can be served whole, on the side, as part of a second course. Or you can enjoy it as I have done here, shredded and served on the pasta, like a ragu. The result is a slightly sweet onion sauce and hearty meat ragu – delicious! It makes me feel like I’m eating a traditional lunch in Naples!

To make pasta Genovese, start by browning the beef, working in batches if necessary. Add the vegetables to the pot, season with salt, and stir in the wine. Cover and braise the meat and vegetables for three hours, adding water or beef broth in small quantities if the meat starts to stick. You will know the sauce is ready when the onion has transformed into a creamy sauce and the meat easily shreds with a fork. Serve the meat on the side or on top of ziti (or your pasta of choice).

Ziti Alla Genovese in white serving bowl

Listen to the Podcast with Vicky Bennison

For more pasta and Italian-inspired recipes, check out my interview with Vicky Bennison in Episode 60 of the Kitchen Confidante Podcast!

More Pasta Recipes

Avocado Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage
Homemade Spinach Fettuccine with Creamy Artichokes and Chicken Sausage Sauce
Vegetarian Pasta Puttanesca
Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

Ziti Alla Genovese in white bowl with a glass of wine

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking to review for the Kitchen Confidante Podcast Episode 60 with Vicky Bennison. All opinions are, of course, my own. The post may have affiliate links; see my Disclosure page to learn more.

Ziti Alla Genovese (Pasta With Stewed Beef From Naples)

Ziti Alla Genovese – This classic pasta from Naples is braised for hours in a creamy onion sauce with stewed meat. This recipe is perfect for a traditional Italian Sunday lunch from Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking by Vicky Bennison.
Ziti Alla Genovese in white bowl with a glass of wine
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5 from 1 vote
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 478kcal

Ingredients

For the Pasta

  • 14 oz ziti or other dry pasta such as penne, paccheri, rigatoni (400 g)

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/3 lbs stewing beef (600 g) cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 4 large red onions (2 lb 4 oz or 1 kg) thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot thinly sliced
  • 1 medium celery stick thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (100 ml or 3 1/2 fl oz)
  • water or beef stock as required
  • kosher salt

For Serving

  • pecorino romano cheese grated
  • black pepper

Instructions

  • Pour a slug of olive oil into a large casserole dish such as a Dutch oven (in the old days, it would have been earthenware, which is better for a gentle braise). Heat over medium heat for a couple of minutes, then start browning the beef a few pieces at a time, working in batches if necessary.
  • Once all the beef pieces have a bit of color, return them to the pan along with the vegetables. Season with salt, drop in the bay leaf, give everything a good stir and pour in the wine. Cover and braise the vegetables and meat for about 3 hours. Check the mixture regularly, and if it starts to stick, add a little water or beef stock. You are aiming for a creamy onion sauce, and beef so soft you can cut it with a fork. Shred the meat if you like, or alternatively, remove it to serve as a second course.
  • Ziti are long, so break them in half. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for the time stated on the packet. Drain the pasta thoroughly. Place it in a large bowl and mix it well with the onion and beef sauce.
  • Let everyone add their cheese and pepper if they like it.

Notes

Recipe reprinted with permission from Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking by Vicky Bennison (Hardie Grant, 2022). 
 
Note from author Vicky Bennison:
No one knows why a pasta dish from Naples is named after the city of Genova. There are many theories; for example, there were many Genovese chefs working in Naples in the 15th century.

Nutrition

Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 647mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1704IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see! Tag @kitchconfidante on Instagram and hashtag it #kitchenconfidante

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