The province of Liguria on the northwest Italian coast has a diverse cuisine that varies greatly from the coast to the inland regions. Along the sea, the necklace of Italian Riviera resorts and the cosmopolitan city of Genoa serve elegant fare like stuffed veal rolls, decorative corzetti pasta, zucchini flowers and specialties also typical of the neighboring Côte d’Azur, like chickpea fritters and little stuffed vegetables. It’s also the land of cucina povera, with foraged herbs, salt cod and gnocchi made from chestnut flour and it is all connected by the region’s ubiquitous, verdant pesto; slabs of focaccia (always thinner than you might expect) and an appetite for things that are stuffed or fried or both. Sturdy marjoram and rosemary are used as often as Genoese basil (a small round-leaf variety very unlike what’s sold in American markets). This mixture of styles is beautifully presented in “Liguria,” an informative new cookbook by Laurel Evans, a Texan who married a Ligurian and sought the culinary secrets of his extended family and friends. Worth discovering are a walnut and garlic sauce for pasta, lettuce packets stuffed with meat and herbs, fried sage leaves to nibble while sipping the regional vermentino and delicious stewed rabbit with olives.
“Liguria the Cookbook: Recipes From the Italian Riviera” by Laurel Evans (Rizzoli, $45).