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trofie with pesto

Trofie with pesto alla genovese

  • Author: Silvana
  • Total Time: 1 hour & 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x


Traditional genovese recipe of trofie with pesto


Units Scale

For the trofie:

  • 300 grams of fine semolina
  • 150 grams of water

For the pesto:

  • 70 grams of basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp of pine nuts
  • 10 tbsp of 30 months aged Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, grated
  • 15 grams of good quality Pecorino, in chunks
  • 120/150 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil
  • A few grains of coarse sea salt

To serve:

  • 1 medium sized floury potato (about 300 grams)
  • 200 grams green beans


Make the trofie

  1. In a large bowl, place the semolina and create a well in the center. Add 120 gr (half a cup) of water and beat with a fork, gradually incorporating the semolina until it becomes too hard to work with the fork. If there is any remaining flour that hasn’t been absorbed, add a little more water until it has all been absorbed by the dough.

  2. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead it vigorously for at least 20 minutes. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water. Be careful not to make the dough too elastic, as it will become gooey once cooked. You want a firm and slightly elastic dough that is easy to work with. If the dough is too soft and sticky, add more semolina. The proportion is generally 50  gr of wet ingredient (water or egg) for every 100 gr of dry ingredient (semolina or flour). Note that each flour has its own absorbing power, so be careful and add the water carefully.

  3. Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, ideally for 1 hour, in a cool and dry place (never in the fridge).

  4. Divide the dough into several small workable sections. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll each section into ropes of about 2-3 mm in diameter. Cut the ropes into segments of about 3 cm each.

  5. To shape the trofie, lightly flatten each segment and hold it by its extremities. Twist it until it is completely rolled upon itself. Continue until all the dough is shaped. Leave your trofie on a clean cotton tablecloth or lightly floured wooden surface.

Make the pesto

  1. Remove the basil leaves from the sprigs, then gently clean them with a cloth. Do not wash them or rub them, as any black veins in the leaves can compromise the taste and color of the pesto.

  2. Take a marble mortar and insert the garlic cloves. Work the garlic with a pestle until you get a creamy texture. Add the pine nuts and proceed in the same way.

  3. Once the pine nuts are reduced to a paste, add the basil leaves and coarse salt. Begin with percussion movements and then continue with rotational movements. Use a spoon to collect the ingredients from the inner edges of the mortar to obtain a uniform pesto.

  4. Once the consistency is creamy and homogeneous, add the Pecorino cheese chunks and pound in the same way to incorporate them. Then add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and do the same thing.

  5. When all the ingredients are reduced to a creamy texture, pour in the olive oil and swirl the pestle for a few more seconds.

Make trofie with pesto, potatoes, and green beans

  1. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt to the water.

  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Trim the green beans and leave them whole.

  3. Once the water has come to a boil, add the green beans and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes.

  4. Add the fresh trofie to the pot and wait for them to rise to the surface. This should take about 20 seconds. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, taking care to save a tablespoon of the cooking water.

  5. Transfer the cooked trofie, green beans, and potatoes to a large bowl. Add the pesto, the tablespoon of water, and mix well to combine.


To make pesto using a mixer, add the basil leaves, oil, pine nuts, salt, and garlic to a large mixer. Blend the ingredients together, then stir in the grated cheese. To ensure the perfect taste, it’s important to prevent the mixture from getting too hot due to the movement of the blades. To avoid this, pulse briefly several times, stopping after a few seconds before restarting. For an added precaution, cool the mixer blades in the refrigerator before use.

Pesto that is not eaten immediately can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, covered with olive oil in a tightly closed jar.

To freeze your pesto, divide it into portions using mini jars suitable for the freezer. Be sure to label each jar with the date and contents for easy identification. When ready to use, allow the pesto to thaw completely at room temperature. Remember, once the pesto has been defrosted, it should not be refrozen. Keep this in mind when preparing your portions

While frozen pesto can last up to 3 months, the quality and taste may deteriorate over time. It’s best to use it within the first month for optimal flavour.

  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Rest Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian
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