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Trofie al Pesto / https://www.hwcmagazine.com
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5 from 4 votes

Trofie al Pesto

Cinque de Terre's Ligurian Trofie al Pesto is a delicious crescent shaped pasta tossed with an easy basil pesto sauce.
Prep Time1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Mains, Sides
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 791kcal
Author: HWC Magazine


Trophie Pasta

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    or 00 Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold water

Homemade Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 tablespoon butter
    melted (yes! butter in the Pesto that is the Ligurian way and their special secret for deliciousness)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ ladle Pasta water for thinning the sauce
  • Extra butter for frying up and the finishing touches to the Ligurian Trofie al Pesto (We did not say this dish was low calorie but it is amazingly delicious)
  • Parmesan cheese Garnishes (optional)
  • basil fresh garnish - optional


Make the Pasta

  • In a large bowl mix flour with the salt.
  • Make well and add the water in the well and mix slowly with a fork.
  • When the dough mixture is pulled together start mixing the dough with your hands until well incorporated. Check the dough for consistency as it should feel slightly tacky but your finger should come back clean when you push it in the dough. Add more flour if too wet and if too dry start to knead dough and see if the  natural moisture from your hands will convert the dough and if not can add a little drop of water.
  • Place a little dusting of flour on your wooden board and knead the dough for at least 8-10 minutes or until the dough is very smooth. Nice and easy kneading and turn your dough with each press. This is a very important step in the process to activate the glutens in the dough and give your pasta that very delicious texture.
  • Form your dough into a disk shape and dust flour on top and bottom of dough and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour or even overnight.
  • Form the Trofie Pasta: Sprinkle your work surface and your plates that you will be placing your formed Trofie pasta on with flour. Cut a thin rope section from the dough and roll the dough into a rope about ¼ inch size in width with your hands- kind of like what you used to do as a kid with play dough. (Make sure that your cover the remaining dough back up with plastic wrap so it does not dry out.)
  • Now cut the rope horizontally into little sections about ¼ inch in size or even smaller if you can. We made ours about the size of a pencil eraser or just slightly larger.
  • Take one piece of cut dough into the palm of your hand and roll in one direction from bottom of palm up to the top of your fingers. Now you should have created this adorable little crescent pasta shape. Repeat this process until you have made enough Trofie pasta to feed enough for your family/friends. Place your completed little Trofie crescents shapes on the well floured plates. (I would highly suggest you recruit your family,kids and friends in this event so you can eat sooner) It is a bit time intensive but very easy to do. Share a glass or two of fantastic Ligurian wine while you play with the dough and it goes even quicker...

Make Pesto and on to the finishing touches...

  • Place fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese in blender or food processor and blend. Slowly add the oil in and continue to blend.
  • Add the butter a little at a time to the food processor and keep blending until creamy and smooth. Taste and season with salt as required.
  • Cooking the Trofie pasta: In a large pot bring at least 4 quarts of water to boil. Salt well as this gives flavor to the pasta.
  • Once the water is at full boil, slowly add about ¼ -½ of the homemade pasta at a time to the water. Depending how large you rolled your pasta it will take between 1-3 minutes to cook your pasta until a firm aldente. Your pasta will float up to the top and you will know that is nearly cooked. Just simply test a pasta to confirm if al dente.
  • Remove and drain pasta from water and set aside. Repeat with second batch of pasta. (I did it in separate batches as it is easier to manage this way and it does not drop the temperature of your water so much doing small batches at a time.)
  • In a large frying pan, place a large knob of butter and add your cooked Trofie pasta. Next add about ½ to ¾ of your delicious Ligurian Pesto, ½ ladle of your pasta water and delicately stir until well incorporated. Place your delicious Trofie al Pesto in bowls and garnish with a grating of fresh Parmesan Reggiano and a sprig of fresh basil.
  • Chef's notes: Make sure you a good amount of salt to your water to boil your pasta! If you want to make this recipe gluten-free substitute 00 flour or regular all purpose wheat flour with rice flour. Please note that this pasta will have a slightly different texture and will be whiter in color compared to a wheat base pasta. If you want to make this recipe vegan, exchange your parmesan cheese with a nutritional yeast and enjoy!

Gluten-Free Option:

  • Mix 1 cup Asian Rice Flour (super fine), ½ cup cornstarch or potato starch, ½ teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup boiling water a little at a time and mix until in is cool enough to touch. While the dough is still in the bowl start to knead to form a ball. Then, take your dough out of the bowl. Use a little cornstarch on your hands and on the board and knead for 5- 8 minutes. Rest for at least ½ hour in plastic wrap. Form into trofie shaped pasta and boil with a little oil in the water. Boil for about 2 minutes until they start to rise to the top. The will be aldente but will still have a bit of chew in the texture. Drain and rinse with cool water. Complete the rest of the recipe as shown about for frying and adding the pesto. (FYI- needs to be super fine "Asian rice flour" and not the regular rice flour you find in the regular supermarkets and NOT glutinous rice flour. Each rice flour has their own consistency and you may need less or more water depending on the make of the flour brand. ) In Asia these noodles are sometimes called "silver noodles" and are also delicious tossed with a little garlic, ginger, chili, tamari sauce, sesame oil and chopped spring onion. Enjoy!



Helpful Hints for Making Homemade Trofie al Pesto
  1. Make sure you salt your water to boil your noodles really well. As the noodles only cook for about 3 minutes or until aldente, it does not absorb much of the salt flavor.
  2. When you noodles float up to the top of the pot, it is a sign they are close to being cooked.
  3. Recruit help in hand rolling your trofie pasta if you want to eat sooner. (Kids love helping out, adults are even more productive if you hand them a glass of wine to help with their creativity)
  4. Try your trofie al pesto with a roasted red pepper pesto, spinach pesto or even a walnut pesto- super delicious.
  5. Sometimes this recipe is made with the addition of green beans and/ or sliced potatoes. Both are an a delicious addition.
  6. You can also make your trofie pasta in advance and let it dry. However,  you will need to increase your cooking time. Fresh is always best.
  7. Make sure to use the BEST Extra Virgin Olive Oil you can get your hands on to make your pesto as this makes a huge difference in the authentic flavor of this recipe. We love Mie Radici olive oils.
  8. You can also buy Trofie pasta fresh and dried at the market, if you are short on time.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 791kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 885mg | Potassium: 198mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1080IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 189mg | Iron: 5mg