Trenette col Pesto Genovese (Linguine with Pesto)

  • Serves

    serves 4


Trenette, so-called because they're thought to resemble train tracks, are a Ligurian version of linguine. (NOTE: Don't substitute pecorino romano for pecorino sardo.)


  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 cups small basil leaves (tightly packed), washed and dried
  • Coarse salt
  • 12 cup grated pecorino sardo or parmigiano-reggiano, or ¼ cup of each
  • 12 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian (or another mild and fruity oil)
  • 12 lb. green beans, trimmed
  • 12 lb. new potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
  • 1 lb. trenette, tagliatelle, or linguine


Step 1

Crush garlic and pine nuts in a large mortar to make a smooth paste.

Step 2

Add basil to mortar a little at a time. Crush to a coarse paste, grinding leaves against side of mortar with pestle. Add a pinch of salt and continue crushing, then gradually stir in cheese.

Step 3

Drizzle in olive oil and continue working until pesto is very smooth and no large pieces of basil are visible. Set aside.

Step 4

Cook green beans for about 3 minutes in boiling water. Remove with a slotted spoon. In the same water, boil potatoes until tender, about 5–7 minutes. Drain, cool, and slice.

Step 5

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook pasta until tender, about 8–10 minutes. Drain, but reserve 2 tbsp. pasta water and add it to pesto.

Step 6

In a large serving bowl, toss pasta, green beans, potatoes, and pesto. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.

VARIATION: To use a food processor, place pine nuts, garlic, and salt in the processor bowl and blend to a paste. Add basil, drizzle in oil, and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in grated cheese by hand.

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