While Trenette Al Pesto has been a renowned pasta dish for quite some time, there’s no doubt that Disney’s Pixar’s Luca animation has increased its popularity ten-fold, which comes as no surprise considering how easy and delicious this traditional Ligurian dish is.
Trenette Al Pesto is a combination of fresh basil pesto, al dente trenette pasta, tender halved potatoes, and green beans. The simple ingredients in this dish combine to make an irresistible meal that’s loved by all ages!
🗝️ Recipe's key points
- The shape of Trenette pasta allows sauces to stick with ease!
- This dish has been made famous by Disney Pixar's Luca, although it originates from Genoa, the capital of Liguria, which is known for its basil and fresh pesto sauce.
- This Trenette al pesto recipe is loved by kids and adults alike - great for a family dinner.
This fresh trenette pasta dish is the perfect summer meal - great for casual family meals or social gatherings with guests.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
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- Trenette pasta -- may substitute linguine
- Potatoes - we used the small Yukon gold but you may also use any kind you like.
- Fresh green beans
- Parmesan cheese -- freshly grated
- Pecorino Romano -- freshly grated
- Fresh basil
- Basil pesto genovese
- Extra-virgin olive oil (not shown)
- Fresh lemon (not shown)
This is an overview of the instructions. Full instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Add the basil pesto sauce ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor.
- Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.
- Drizzle the olive oil slowly through the feeding tube of the food processor until the pesto is smooth and emulsified.
- Set the pesto aside or in the fridge until needed.
- Cut the green beans.
- Halve the potatoes.
- Add the potatoes to a pot of boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
- Add the green beans to the pot after 5 minutes of the pasta boiling.
- Check that all ingredients are cooked before draining the vegetables and pasta. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
- Add the pesto to the empty pot and place the pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and pasta with the reserved pasta water.
- Toss the ingredients until heated through and the pasta is coated well.
Store leftover Trenette al pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. The basil pesto will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days - great for making ahead of this dish.
I don’t recommend freezing this dish as the texture of the ingredients could change. Store the basil pesto in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months and thaw it in the fridge for easy use in freshly cooked Trenette pasta dishes.
- You can omit the pine nuts or use other types of nuts, such as cashews.
- Use Yukon Gold potatoes instead of Russet potatoes.
- Use linguine or spaghetti instead of Trenette pasta if you can’t find Trenette pasta.
- Add red pepper flakes to the seasoning of this traditional Ligurian dish for a slightly spicy kick.
- Use store-bought basil pesto if you prefer.
- Only add the pasta after 5 minutes of cooking the potatoes to avoid the pasta cooking beyond al dente and turning mushy.
- Check that the green beans and potatoes are cooked before you drain the pot of boiling water. Avoid undercooked vegetables that are overly chewy.
- Serve immediately for the best texture and flavor.
- The reserved pasta water helps to loosen the combined vegetables, pasta, and pesto while also adding great flavor and not diluting the overall flavor of the dish.
Yes. Use spaghetti or linguine if you can't find the trenette pasta. These alternatives are similar in size and shape to make the best substitutes.
Russet potatoes are great for trenette al Pesto. Yukon Gold potatoes are another option, but you can also use other waxy potatoes that are great for boiling and holding their shape, such as yellow, red, or fingerling potatoes.
Trenette comes from the word trena which means string in Genoese. It aptly describes the long and thin shape of this type of pasta, similar to linguine and spaghetti.
The type of pasta in Luca is Trenette pasta.
Trenette resembles linguine, although it is thicker, slightly wider, and rounder compared to linguine.
📗 Related Recipes
- Easy Homemade Pesto Without Pine Nuts - A great pesto recipe if you don’t want the addition of pine nuts.
- Pasta Primavera - Similar to Trenette al Pesto, this refreshing recipe combines al dente pasta with fresh vegetables.
- Classic Tagliolini Al Limone - Perfect if you are craving a simple pasta dish consisting of linguine which is very similar to trenette pasta.
🍽 What to serve with Trenette Al Pesto
I love to serve this Trenette al Pesto with a sprinkle of extra Parmesan cheese. Serve each plated portion with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of flaky sea salt, and black pepper.
Along with the pasta, an Arugula Salad with crisp fresh pears is delicious.
🔪 All Our Way recommends the following
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You’ll need the following items to make this recipe successfully.
- Pasta pot or deep pot -- needed to boil the pasta and vegetables.
- Colander - to remove the water from the veggies and pasta.
- Food processor - to make the basil pesto - it's not needed if you have pesto on hand.
- Microplane or cheese grater -- for the Parmesan cheese and Pecorino Romano cheese.
- Sharp knife - to cut the vegetables
- Cutting board
📞 Chiacchierata (chat)
This magical pasta al pesto recipe took me back to the beautiful seaside town of Vernazza. The aromas and tastes were reminiscent of our time there, and it was incredibly easy to prepare. There is a perfect harmony of pasta, green beans, and potatoes. This dish will transport you to the Italian Riviera while sitting at your kitchen table.
Now get cooking and bring some Luca magic to your dinner table!
Tutti a tavolo, è pronto!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
What's new? Check out my All Our Way Store on Amazon. We'll be adding more items we love and use or wish we had to make cooking fun and easy.
Trenette Pasta al Pesto With Green Beans and Potatoes
For the homemade pesto alla Genovese: ** see notes
- 2 ½ cups fresh basil leaves
- 3 Tablespoons Pecorino Romano grated
- 1 Tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano grated plus more for serving
- ¼ cup pine nuts toasted and a few more for garnish
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus half a lemon juiced plus juice from ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for serving
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- You may also use 1 cup of your homemade pesto or as needed
For the pasta and vegetables:
- 1 lb. trenette pasta may sub with linguine
- ½ lb. green bean ends trimmed and cut into 1 ½ - 2-inch pieces ends trimmed and cut into 1½-2-pinch pieces
- ⅓ pound Small Yukon Gold potatoes (151g) halved
- Extra virgin olive oil for serving
- Flaky sea salt for serving
Make the homemade basil pesto sauce:
- Place all ingredients except for the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment: 2 ½ cups basil leaves, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, one clove chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, ½ lemon juiced, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper. Pulse until the ingredients are very finely chopped.
- With the food processor on, slowly drizzle in ½ cup of the extra virgin olive oil through the feeding tube until the pesto is smooth and emulsified. Please set aside or store it in a fridge until you need it.
Cooking the pasta and vegetables:
- Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, then season generously with 1-2 tablespoon Kosher salt.
- Carefully add the halved potatoes to the boiling water. Cook for about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the pasta to the same large pot, stirring it well. Cook until al dente according to package instructions (usually 9-13 minutes, depending on the pasta). Five minutes after adding the pasta, mix in the cut green beans. Be sure to check to make sure each ingredient is fully cooked. When done, reserve ½ cup of cooking water. Drain the water from the vegetables and pasta in the pot using a large colander.
- In the same large pot, pour in the prepared pesto sauce. Place over medium heat, then add the drained pasta, veggies, and ½ cup of reserved cooking water. Toss until heated through and the pasta is well coated about 2 minutes.
How to serve:
- To serve, plate the pasta, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, then drizzle each portion with extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of flaky sea salt, and extra black pepper. Serve immediately!