Trenette or trofie with pesto is often traditionally served with green beans and potatoes cooked together in the pot, a dish known as "pasta al pesto avvantiaggiato" (pesto pasta with an advantage). It's a tasty combination, but the double-starch mixture of potatoes with pasta is also a bit heavy, making it a better choice for a fall or wintertime dish.
In the summer, I prefer to make trofie tossed with pesto sauce and fresh tomatoes. The sweetness and tang of the juicy tomatoes pairs wonderfully with the rich, savory nutty-herbal flavors of the pesto and the pleasing chew of the trofie.
Fresh trofie are the best (sometimes these are sold together with other fresh, packaged pastas in a market's refrigerated section), but some brands, such as Barilla, also make a dried version.
Flavorful cherry, grape, or cocktail tomatoes work best in this dish, but if you can't find them, ripe and flavorful vine tomatoes also work.
- 9 ounces (250 grams) trofie, fresh or dried (about 1/2 box, if using dried trofie; see above for alternative pasta suggestions if you can't find trofie)
- 1 recipe of Classic Genovese-Style Basil Pesto (click for ingredients and recipe)
- 1 cup of fresh cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (or quartered cocktail tomatoes, or cored vine tomatoes cut into large chunks)
- 1 teaspoon butter (optional)
- Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving (optional)
Bring a large, covered pot of water to boil over high heat.
When the water reaches a rolling boil, remove the lid and add 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt. When the water comes back to a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 10 minutes if dried, shorter if fresh).
Drain well, retaining about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Toss the pasta together with the pesto, tomatoes, and a bit of the cooking water (add just a splash at a time, while stirring) as needed to help the sauce melt and adhere to the pasta.
Some people also like to add a dab of butter at this point, for a richer, silkier pesto sauce. That's up to you.
Serve immediately, with grated cheese for sprinkling on top, if desired.