Salsa alla Genovese = Genoese Sauce

If you see the term genovese in general Italian cookery books, two things come to mind. If it refers to a dish that connotes Liguria, then genovese would mean the presence of pesto. In Naples, genovese is a sauce of meat and onions and it has nothing to do with Liguria. But Salsa alla Genovese is something else again. This is a flavorful vegetable—red wine sauce that is considered an ideal condiment for poached fish.


This proud lion protects Genoa's Church of San Lorenzo

This proud lion protects Genoa's Church of San Lorenzo

6 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, green heart removed, minced
4 large or 5 medium carrots, wahsed and peeled, then minced
4 Tbsp. Ligurian extravirgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme, torn into small pieces
1 Tbsp. unbleached, all-purpose flour
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups/12 oz. light to medium-weight red wine such as Rossese di Dolceacqua or Dolcetto 

Makes about 1 1/2 cups


  1. After preparing the shallots, garlic, and carrots, heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and carrots and sauté until the shallots become translucent and the combination gives off a beguiling fragrance. 
  2. Then add the thyme, followed by the flour, stirring so that all the ingredients combine. Add salt and pepper to taste, and then the wine. Place a lid on the pot so that it is almost entirely covered, but leave a little gap for steam to escape. Cook for about an hour over very low heat.
  3. Depending on how you prefer the sauce, you may strain the liquid out or keep it as it is in the pot, which is a rather thick sauce that really seems like a condiment. Ideally, the sauce is served at room temperature, but I also like it hot, especially if the sauce is served with cold poached fish.