Lush Ligurian Tapestry: The Verdant Voyage of Trenette al Pesto

Embark upon a verdant voyage to the heart of Liguria with Trenette al Pesto, where the tender strands of trenette pasta cradle the lush essence of Genovese basil. 

The pesto, a green jewel of Liguria, weaves a rich tapestry of flavors with the sweet, aromatic basil harmoniously entwined with the nutty whispers of pine nuts and the creamy embrace of Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses. 

Each forkful is a gentle cascade through the verdant hills and quaint hamlets of Liguria, under the soft caress of the Mediterranean sun. 

The gentle crunch of the pine nuts is a soft echo, a rustic touch to a dish that is as elegant as it is earthy.

Photo of a plate of Trenette al Pesto. The thin, flat trenette pasta is generously coated with a vibrant green pesto sauce made from fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The pasta is evenly mixed with the sauce, ensuring a burst of flavor in every bite. As a garnish, there’s a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and a few fresh basil leaves on top, enhancing the dish’s visual appeal and aroma.

Preparation and Cooking Time

  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Number of Servings and Ideal Serving Size

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Ideal Serving Size: A generous portion of about 250g to unravel the lush Ligurian narrative.

Essential Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: 550 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 65g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Fat: 25g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 2g


  • Trenette Pasta: 400g
  • Fresh Basil Leaves: 30g
  • Pine Nuts: 30g
  • Garlic Cloves: 2
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated: 40g
  • Pecorino Cheese, grated: 30g
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 90ml
  • Salt: to taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper: to taste

Photo illustrating the ingredients necessary for Trenette al Pesto. Displayed are raw trenette pasta, fresh basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, and blocks of Parmesan cheese. A bottle of olive oil is also present, a key ingredient in making the pesto sauce. These ingredients are neatly organized, each playing a crucial role in creating the delightful pesto pasta dish.

Detailed Method of Preparation

  • Begin by preparing the pesto. In a food processor, combine the fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, and garlic cloves. Pulse until finely chopped.
  • Add the grated Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses, pulsing a few times to combine. While the processor is running, drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil until a smooth, yet slightly textured pesto is formed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the trenette pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve about a cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the pesto with the cooked trenette, adding a little of the reserved pasta cooking water, if needed, to loosen the sauce and ensure the pasta is well-coated with the pesto.
  • Serve the Trenette al Pesto in warm bowls, perhaps with a light garnish of additional grated Parmesan and a few whole basil leaves for a fresh, decorative touch.

Proven Tips for Culinary Success

  • Toasting the pine nuts briefly in a dry skillet before adding them to the pesto can enhance their nutty flavor.
  • The quality of the olive oil will significantly impact the taste of the pesto. A high-quality extra virgin olive oil is preferable.
  • The pesto sauce can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Anticipated FAQs

  • Can I use a different type of nut in the pesto? Traditionally, pine nuts are used, but you may substitute with walnuts or cashews if preferred.
  • Can I use a different type of pasta? Yes, while trenette is traditional, tagliatelle, fettuccine, or even spaghetti can be used as alternatives.
  • Is there a vegan version of this dish? Absolutely, you can substitute the Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses with nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan to create a vegan pesto.

Lush Ligurian Tapestry: The Verdant Voyage of Trenette al Pesto is an ode to the humble elegance of Ligurian cuisine. The vibrant flavors encapsulate the essence of the Italian Riviera, offering a simple yet profound culinary experience that resonates with the rustic charm and natural bounty of Liguria. Each strand of pasta adorned with the luscious pesto is a journey through the verdant landscapes, a harmonious blend of nature's finest offerings.