Pesto and Trenette alla Genovese


For many years I ran cookery classes at the local college.

The first course I organised proved to be very popular and has been sold out for many many times.

I think the secret of the success was because it included food from nearly every Italian region. This gave a great variety of recipes, flavours and options to the student who participated.

(If you come to one of my Taste of Italy cookery classes at Perth College, let me know which one is your favourite recipe so I can add it to the blog.)

That’s one of the reasons why Italian food is so popular, we don’t have a national cuisine, but every region has differences that are historically embedded in the food, culture and custom of the area.

Italy as a nation is a young country as it was unified in 1861, so only a little more than 150 years ago, and despite been united, substantial differences remain between regions in every aspect of everyday life.

One of the most popular recipes from this course was the pasta with pesto served as they do it in Genoa


It should be served with linguine, or trenette as they call this pasta in Genoa, or you can use trofie (a short pasta typical of the region).

I was tired and hungry, and I didn’t notice that I grabbed a pack of spaghetti instead of linguine, by the time I realised it it was too late. Luckily my family didn’t complain 🙂

Pesto is one of my favourite sauce, and I use it to make many other recipes like on pizza, in lasagne and with fish.

Keep it covered with olive oil, and it will last up to a week in the fridge.

Try it, and you will never buy ready-made pesto as when pesto is homemade, the flavour of the basil remain fresher and stronger. If you buy pesto from the shop, try to look for the one in the chiller area as it’s usually higher quality than the one in the jar.

Pesto and Trenette alla Genovese

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Pesto and Trenette alla Genovese


  • Pesto:
  • 50 g basil leaves (1 big pot)
  • 35 g pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Trenette:
  • 100 g green beans
  • 250 g potatoes
  • 350 g trenette or linguine or spaghetti
  • 3 or 4 tbsp pesto sauce
  • salt
  • 30 gr pecorino cheese
  • 30 gr parmesan cheese


  • Pesto:
  • Wash the basil and dry it very gently.
  • In the blender add the pine nuts and crush a little bit, than add the basil and the crushed garlic.
  • Blend everything adding the oil until you have a thick paste.
  • You can keep the sauce in the fridge up to a week cover with a layer of olive oil.
  • Trenette:
  • Wash the potatoes and the green beans and cut in regular cubes.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the potatoes for about ten minutes, then add the pasta and the green beans. While the pasta is cooking prepares a bowl with the pesto sauce, the grated cheeses and a little bit of water from the pasta pan until nice and creamy. Season it at taste.
  • When the pasta is al dente drain it and put in the bowl with the previously prepared mix. Serve immediately.
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