They were the quintessential first course. They were prepared only on special occasions, and according to the traditional recipe, they were strictly filled with Swiss chard. Only in recent years has the use of meat been introduced in the filling. The preparation took place either on the eve of the celebration or on the same morning. Making ravioli was laborious, especially when lacking any kind of machinery. That first course added solemnity to the festive day.
Rabbit was the dish cooked every Sunday by all the families in the village. The use of meat was sporadic, but the rabbits, raised in the village stables with grass, tree branches to gnaw on, and dry bread, provided a tasty main course on holidays. The division into pieces creates different flavors. Some people love the "difficult" pieces like the head and ribs, not very meaty but very tasty, while others prefer the pieces with more flesh, even if they can be a bit fibrous. The best piece is considered to be the shoulder.
This dish holds significant importance in Valebona's tradition. In the past, torta verde was purely a summer food and was baked in the village's bread ovens. The women, after reserving a spot at the bakery, brought their baking pans and collected them when the cooking was finished. It was customary to exchange some pieces with the neighbors, so in memories, there is also the taste of zucchini pies cooked by others. The baking pan animating in the oven excited the children, aware that they would eat something special that only appeared on the table a few times during the summer period.
In Valebona's cuisine, as well as in much of Liguria, fillings prevail, as the prevalence of vegetables led to stuffings so that the addition of eggs and grated cheese would provide protein and make the food more substantial and tasty. This implies more preparation work, which is excellently rewarded by the results that follow. Stuffed flowers and onions are also good the next day and, alternatively, instead of being baked, they can be fried in a pan with hot olive oil.