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Trofie al Pesto con Fagiolini e Patate

In my past post , “How to make Pesto like a Ligurian” , I shared the secrets of the ancient pesto recipe. Having unveiled the ingredients and the method to make pesto alla Genovese, I thought that you may also want to know how Ligurians eat their pesto – right? Well, they combine it by using different pasta shapes that go really well with pesto – trofie, trofiette and trenette. While ago I was going down the pasta aisle of my nearest supermarket, and I came across a box of pasta Barilla. What caught my attention was not only the shape of the pasta – trofie , but the recipe on the back of the box – Ligurian trofie with pesto, potatoes and green beans…Potatoes with pasta? Did I read well? A weird combination, isn’t it? What added value could potatoes give pasta?  Since this is a traditional recipe of the Liguria region (and there might be a reason why Ligurians use potatoes), I then decided to give it a try and find out by myself.

Trofie with pesto, potatoes and green beans

Ingredients for about 6 to 8 servings

600 grams of trofie pasta

400 grams of potatoes

300 grams of green beans

6 tablespoons of Pesto


1. Wash and drain green beans. Take off the ends.

2. Peel potatoes, and dice finely into 1 cm squares. This is very important for the end result.

3. Boil water in a pot. Add coarse salt.

4. When water boils, add pasta, potatoes and green beans together. The Barilla trofie take about 10 minutes to cook, and in this case, the amount of time was enough for cooking green beans and potatoes (remember to cut potatoes small!). If you are using fresher trofie – or another type of pasta that takes less time to cook – you need to adjust the timing when adding green beans and potatoes to the boiling pot (if the pasta you are using cooks in 5 minutes, add vegetables 5 minutes before).

5. When pasta is al dente, drain all three ingredients, saving about a cup of cooking water for later.

6. Blend with pesto, adding water little by little to let all the ingredients amalgamate well.

So what about the use of potatoes? When blending all ingredients together, potatoes crumble and add their starches thickness to the dish, making it richer and heartier!

A total culinary ecstasy!


33 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jereme's Kitchen #

    Sounds so good

    August 1, 2012
  2. It looks yummy!

    August 1, 2012
  3. The beautiful green of the pesto and beans just looks so summery! I love this pasta dish especially with the trofie pasta. I’ve heard of potatoes on pizza but have never had it in my pasta! Sounds like a dish i must try!

    August 1, 2012
    • It is very summery indeed. Potatoes are not a common ingredient in pasta so I was very curious to try this recipe out and it paid!

      August 1, 2012
  4. What yummy and tasty looking pasta!

    August 1, 2012
  5. And it sounds easy too, And hearty but in a summery kind of way.. I will try this one.. (though i will have to make more pesto, i loved the last batch so much i ate it with a spoon!!) (bad!).. c

    August 1, 2012
    • Yes this dish has a plus.- it is easy since you cook altogether. The only thing you have to prepare is your pesto! Oh, by the way, when I prepare pesto I eat some of it with a piece of bread!

      August 1, 2012
  6. Fabulous idea. My guess is that I’m not going to find trofie in the pasta aisle of Super U in La Chataigneraie! I’ll have to contact the fabulous Martellis:)

    August 1, 2012
    • Hi Roger! You can try it with a spiral pasta such as fusilli or any twisted, helix or corkscrew shape! The important thing is that pesto clings well to pasta! I suggest you to try it. It does have a similar effect as untoasted bread crumbs on pasta…remember?

      August 1, 2012
  7. I knew that trenette were often served with pesto but this dish is new to me. I’ll have to ask Zia if she’s familiar with it. Even if not, I’m sure we’ll try it. The flavors sound delicious and both of us love pesto. We have it at least once whenever I visit her.

    August 1, 2012
    • You should definitely try trofie and I am sure you can find them in Chicago, or even better you can make them from scratch!

      August 1, 2012
  8. It sounded easy enough for me to handle. Love the green color of the pesto.

    August 1, 2012
  9. It looks delicious and sounds a winner to me! I’m wondering what kind of poatoes you used?

    August 1, 2012
    • Hi! Thank you! I used yellow potatoes and they just worked really well!

      August 1, 2012
  10. Lovely photo and recipe.

    August 1, 2012
  11. I still remember eating trofie pasta while overlooking the Mediterranean. Yours looks great!

    August 1, 2012
    • Hi Joshua! Welcome back! Thank you! I think that when you eat pesto the concentration of flavors recalls the Mediterranean!

      August 1, 2012
  12. I had this dish a few years ago while we were in Italy and it was very good. It is nice to have the recipe…thanks Ambrosiana.

    August 2, 2012
    • You are welcome Karen! I hope you can enjoy it again!

      August 2, 2012
  13. When I first learned to make pesto years ago I came upon a traditional recipe that called for pesto, potatoes and pasta. Never tried it that way because somehow it failed to inspire…you however did NOT! This is absolutely beautiful and I mean to try it as soon as I can. Love every single ingredient and think the combination of textures, of shapes and the rich green all in one bowl are stunning! (This is getting pinned!)

    August 3, 2012
    • Thank you Spree! You are so kind! You have just givien a n excellent analysis of the dish!

      August 4, 2012
  14. i don’t find it weird that potatoes were added to a pasta dish. i eat potatoes with rice or bread sometimes.
    personally, i’m only just now getting into the pesto thing. i enjoy it’s versatility, as evidenced by this dish.

    August 3, 2012
    • To me it was! I was even used to see French fries on pizza! Thanks for stopping by!

      August 3, 2012
  15. That is really interesting, pasta and potatoes. I have never tried the combination but if you say it is culinary ecstasy I need to give it a try

    August 8, 2012
    • It is a very interesting pairing. When potatoes are cooked and miexd with pasta, its starches act as a glue, blending all ingredients togheter!

      August 13, 2012
  16. please update your blog now, it’s wonderful!

    May 23, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Culinary Scene in Liguria Italy | Vino Con Vista Italy Travel Guides and Events
  2. Tortino leggero di patate e fagiolini con curcuma e noci | La Caccavella

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