The name of Paola Oliveri’s gem of a restaurant, Osteria Creuza de Mä, in the Boccadasse neighborhood of Genoa was inspired by a wildly popular 1984 album of music celebrating the area’s tiny alleyways, fish restaurants, picturesque port, and patches of pebbly beach. Chef Antonio Amato, originally from Naples but happily transplanted to Genoa, makes some of the best pesto in town.
Most cooks prefer to use pesto with trenette, or little twisted braids of pasta, but Antonio opts for picage (from the local dialect’s word for “napkin”) instead. This is a flat, lasagna-type pasta, cut into rough large squares that fold onto themselves and trap the pesto within. He also uses less garlic than the classic measure because he considers its taste too strong; lovers of garlic can add more.
With its crisp apple and orange flavors and dry but rich mouthfeel, the Sardinian white wine Vermentino plays well with the brisk basil and garlic in this dish; recommended producers include Guado al Tasso, Capichera and Santadi.