Genoa and the region of Liguria boasts one of the most unusual pasta shapes: ‘corzetti‘, also known as ‘croxetti‘. This pasta resembles stamped coins and can often be found displaying the family crest!
In the early Middle Ages around 500 AD, it was the custom to serve crozetti stamped with a cross, hence the origin of the name. Serving corzetti with a crest, was a display of wealth and status because a great deal of effort went into designing each piece. A hand-made wooden stamp known as a ‘corzetto’ is used to emboss each circular piece of dough. The little divots created in the process, hold the sauce.
Over time corzetto designs became more complex and including the coats of arms of noble families. The custom became very popular throughout the Renaissance (1500), when aristocrates would present these stamped pasta pieces to their guests as a sign of pride as well as respect. Legend even has it that Christopher Columbus had his own specially designed corzetto on board his ships with which the pasta was made.
If you want to make these delicacies for your next party, certain shops in Genoa still sell the wooden stamps emblazoned with flowers, trees, and other beautiful designs. They are so pretty that every self proclaimed pastaio should have a collection of them … I need a trip to Genoa!
How do you serve these little coins? The earliest cookbooks of the eighteenth century paired corzetti with meat sauce, but now there are recipes that call for pesto or a light pine nut sauce that help display each designed piece of pasta.
The pasta dough recipe you use for making corzetti is very important because it dominates most dishes. We have one for you that includes using wine and makes a perfectly light pasta dough.