Trofie pasta with pesto sauce

Here is one of the signature dishes of the rich and varied Genoese cuisine! To what do we refer? Of course: the exceptionally tasty trofie pesto prepared with a pestle and mortar! It appears that trofie pasta was invented on board ship by the Genoese sailors, who were accustomed to knead water and flour together with their hands to make little gnocchi. According to tradition, the same sailors then used to rub their hands together in order to remove the dough residues remaining between their fingers, and as a result the trofie shape of pasta was born. As for the pesto, however, it is of course the sauce par excellence of Genoese cooking: to make it according to the ‘rules’ you will need very good basil, olive oil, pecorino cheese and pine nuts, that when pounded together allow us to enjoy a truly special dish freshly made. Get ready to serve up a dish that will disappear in no time!


15 minutes Total time
Serves 2 persons
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Boil the water; while you wait proceed to make the pesto. Pound in a mortar the pine nuts, garlic, salt and cheese until you get a smooth paste. When the water boils, put the trofie pasta on to cook. Remove the mixture from the mortar and replace in the mortar with the basil leaves which you have torn by hand (if you cut them with a knife the basil will oxidize quickly, becoming brown) and a little oil to avoid the basil blackening. Start to pound the basil and add a teaspoon of the crushed pine nuts and cheese mixture. Crush and mix well and gradually add the remaining mixture and oil. By now the pasta should be cooked! Remove it from the water and mix with pesto along with a few tablespoons of the cooking water. The trofie pesto is ready!

The pesto can certainly be made in advance: but because of its tendency to oxidize, you have to make sure you cover it with a little extra virgin olive oil.
The pesto is made using a mortar and pestle - hence the name - generally in this order: first pound the garlic together with the pine nuts, then add the basil leaves.

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