Watching the Disney movie Luca reminded me of this delicious Ligurian pasta dish that I had a long time ago when I used to live in Italy. Long trenette pasta with a traditional pesto alla Genovese (aka basil pesto) as well as some boiled diced potatoes and green beans! In Liguria, trenette al pesto is often served sprinkled with toasted pine nuts and some extra grated parmesan.
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💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Simple but authentic. This is originally from Liguria and I haven't changed the recipe from what I remember eating at all!
- Quick and easy to make: This recipe comes together in 30 minutes, and better yet, just needs one pot!
- Filling but light. The addition of potatoes and green beans makes this a filling meal, but not too heavy!
📋 Ingredients and notes
You'll need trenette, potatoes, green beans, Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, salt and black pepper in addition to basil pesto.
Notes and Variations
- Homemade versus storebought pesto: Homemade pesto brings a whole new level of flavor to the recipe, but you can definitely just buy the pesto in a pinch!
- Trenette versus linguine: Trenette is a long pasta that's very similar to linguine. If you can't find trenette, you can totally use linguine.
- Parmesan versus Pecorino: This recipe uses both types of cheeses (make sure they're vegetarian!) - but you can use just one if you want.
P.S., Check out my pesto alla Genovese recipe for all the tips to make the best homemade pesto, or make this vegan kale pesto! If you want something a bit non-traditional, you can also try this pea shoot pesto or even my broccoli pesto! All are delicious!
📖 How to make trenette al pesto
Cook the pasta and vegetables
- Peel potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Chop up green beans into small segments.
- Add salt to water in a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the potatoes to the pot of water and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
- Then, add trenette (or linguine) and cook based on package directions.
- Add the green beans with 5 minutes to spare. Reserve some pasta water from the pot.
Make homemade pesto
- If you're using storebought pesto, you can skip this step.
- Otherwise, add basil, garlic cloves, parmesan, and a pinch of salt to a food processor or mortar and pulse into a coarse mixture. Slowly add olive oil to emulsify into pesto.
Assemble the pasta
- Drain the pasta and vegetables into a bowl. Add pesto and toss evenly. Serve with some grated parmesan and basil leaves or dry basil for garnish!
👩🏽🍳Top tips and FAQs
Trenette is a long pasta originating in Genoa, the capital of Liguria.
Linguine is basically flattened spaghetti! Trenette tends to be slightly thicker than linguine, but interchangeable in recipes!
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
You can store this pasta in the fridge for up to a day, but I recommend making it fresh if possible!
If you like this recipe, check out my other authentic Italian recipes:
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Trenette al Pesto
- 1.5 cups basil
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- ⅓ cup Parmesan, substitute grana padano, freshly grated
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
Trenette al Pesto
- ½ lb trenette , substitute linguine or bavette
- ⅓ lb potatoes, 3 medium sized, Yukon Gold
- ¼ lb green beans
- ½ tablespoon salt, for pasta water
Cook Pasta & Vegetables
- Peel ⅓ lb of Yukon Gold potatoes (about 3 medium sized ones) and cut them into small 1" cubes. Chop up about 8 oz of green beans into 1” segments.
- Add ½ tablespoon of salt to 2-3 quarts of water in a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the potatoes to the pot of water and cook for about 3-5 minutes.
- Then, add ½ lb of trenette pasta (or linguine) and cook based on the package directions. Add the green beans towards with 5 minutes to spare. Reserve ¼ cup of water from the pot.
Make Homemade Pesto
- If you want to make homemade pesto, follow the rest of these steps. If you're using storebought pesto, please skip to the next section.
- Use a skillet to toast 2 tablespoons of pine nuts over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Let them cool.
- Wash 1.5 cups of fresh basil and dry them thoroughly. Add basil leaves, pine nuts, 2 cloves of garlic, ⅓ cup of freshly grated Parmesan, and ½ teaspoon of salt to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until a coarse mixture forms.
- Now, add ½ cup of olive oil slowly through the spout of the food processor and pulse to combine until a smooth sauce forms. Note: if your food processor does not have a spout through which you can pour the olive oil, just add the oil slowly and use a spatula to combine as you pour!
- Your pesto is ready - set this aside while you prep the other ingredients.
- Drain the cooked pasta and vegetables into a large bowl and toss with pesto. Serve hot and with more freshly grated parmesan on top.