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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.