Trenette alla Genovese

Each region of Italy has its own pasta dishes. The most famous foodstuff from Liguria is pesto, and the two typical pasta dishes from Liguria with pesto are Lasagne alla Genovese and Trenette alla Genovese. Both are best with pesto made from scratch using pestle and mortar. Trenette alla Genovese are trenette cooked with haricots verts and potatoes, and served with pesto alla genovese.

Trenette are pasta noodles that can be either fresh or dry, and the shape can be either elliptical like thick linguine or rectangular like thick tagliolini. Dried trenette are difficult to obtain outside of Liguria, but that it is not a major issue as fresh pasta is better in this dish anyway. Unless you have a tool that helps to make elliptical noodles, a rectangular shape is the way to go. Trenette should be about 3.5 mm (1/7 inch) wide and 1.5 mm (1/16 inch) thick. I have it from a reliable (Ligurian) source that it should be made with 00 flour and a mixture of eggs and water.

This vegetarian pasta dish is very elegant despite its rustic origins, and not difficult to make if you own a stand mixer and a pasta roller. Here’s how to do it.


For 4 servings as primo piatto

2 eggs

water (about 50 ml or 1/4 cup)

300 grams (2 cups) Italian 00 flour

300 grams (.67 lbs) potatoes

300 grams (.67 lbs) haricots verts

180 grams (3/4 cups) homemade pesto

freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (or ligurian pecorino if you can find it)



Add enough water to the eggs to have 150 ml (2/3 cup) of liquid.

Process the eggs and water in a stand mixer fitted with a blade until just beaten.

Add the flour and process until the dough comes together. Add more flour if the dough is too wet, or more water if it is too dry.

Change over to the dough hook and knead for 5 minutes on medium speed.

Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for half an hour.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes.

Cut the ends off of the haricots verts. You can do this quickly by aligning a handful of haricots verts and using a large knife to cut the ends off the whole bunch in one ago. Cut the haricots verts in half.

Wash the haricots verts and potatoes in cold water.

After resting for half an hour in the refrigerator, roll out the pasta dough according to my instructions. Roll it out to a thickness of about 1.5 mm (1/16 inch). On my pasta machine with “1” as the widest setting and “9” as the narrowest, this means rolling out to setting “5”. Cut the pasta sheets to a length of about 30 cm (12″) and flour them to prevent the trenette from sticking together. Use the tagliolini attachment to cut them into trenette, or cut them by hand.

If you are not going to cook them straight away, you should allow them to dry hanging loosely to prevent them from sticking together.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Add the potatoes and haricots verts and boil for about 4 minutes. If you have thick haricots verts or large potato cubes, you may need to boil them longer.

Add the trenette and boil until they are cooked al dente, another 4 minutes or so. The haricots verts and potatoes should now also be cooked.

Drain the trenette and vegetables, reserving a bit of the cooking water.

Return the pasta and vegetables to the pot, off the heat, or use a serving dish that you warmed up. Add the pesto and the cooking water.

Toss to mix.

Serve on warm plates, sprinkled with some freshly grated parmigiano reggiano or ligurian pecorino.

Wine pairing

It goes without saying that this should be paired with a dry white from Liguria, such as this Vermentino. A Pigato from Liguria would also be outstanding. If you can’t find a Ligurian white, another dry Italian white could work as well.

21 thoughts on “Trenette alla Genovese

  1. Interesting recipe which as a pesto addict I should really try! Thanks for suggestion 🙂 ! Interestingly Antonio Carlucci just appeared here at the local Masterchef doing almost the same, but making his ‘dough’ into what he called ‘handkerchief’ pasta: – looked soft, succulent , green and appetizing like yours . . .


  2. – Dear Dear Stefan, You are totally in a different league. I don’t feel qualified to make any comments of substance.
    – Having said that, I love to come to your blog to see a Master in action and even if I can’t duplicate it, be educated with the knowledge.
    – 28 years ago, I was in Italy for 6 days. I had pasta dishes which melted in my mouth. Reading your narrative took me back to those days. But none of the pasta dishes I had seem to be as healthy as this one you made.
    – Always a pleasure to visit your blog. 😀


  3. This is a fantastic dish, Stefan, and trenette my favorite pasta. I find pasta & potato dishes fascinating — and very satisfying. Though this particular dish is not a part of my family’s traditions, I have made and enjoyed it. This is another great post,


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