Trenette al Pesto alla Genovese

Genoese-Style Trenette with Pesto


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

For Ligurians, there are only two pasta shapes that, along with potato gnocchi, are acceptable for use when it comes to serving their green basil pesto, andthese are trenette (long thin ribbons, often made with a little chopped borageblended into the dough) and trofie (the local, short corkscrew-shape). Pesto istraditionally made towards the end of the summer in large amounts, when thebasil plants are flowering and at their most pungent, and it is then preserved for the winter months. Many different versions of the basic sauce exist; the recipes vary from household to household. This traditional way of enjoying the pastatogether with pesto, potatoes and beans is typical of the city of Genoa.


  • 250 g/9 oz potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm/1 in cubes
  • 250 g/9 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into 2.5 cm/1 in lengths
  • 300 g/11 oz trenette
  • 300 ml/½ pint/ cups pesto
  • 40 g/ oz pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • sea salt
  • grated Parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes and steam the green beans for 7-8 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the trenette and cook according to the packet instructions.
  3. When there is 3 minutes of cooking time remaining, add the cooked potatoes and beans to heat them through.
  4. Reserve 45 ml/3 tbsp of the cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and vegetables in a colander. Add the reserved liquid to the pesto and stir to dilute.
  5. Add the pasta and vegetables to the pesto and toss together well. Serve immediately, with the toasted pine nuts and a small amount of Parmesan cheese sprinkled over.