The Classic Pasta with Pesto Recipe from Genova

Traditionally, the Genovese pesto recipe is served with fresh Trofie pasta, green beans, and potatoes. They are all cooked together as the starch from the potatoes makes the sauce creamier.

Trofie with Pesto genovese potatoes and green beans  Jump to Recipe 

This pasta bowl is a complete meal with carbs, vegetables, and proteins from the cheese.

It is a perfect light lunch to have during the summer when there is plenty of fresh basil growing in my vegetable patch.

.....I wish !!!


I try, I really do try to plant basil every year but I haven't really been successful.

I planted it in the ground, in pots, in the shade, and in the sun.

Grown from seeds, bought the plants, watered it plenty, loved it like a son......

and I always end up in Ventimiglia to buy a large crate of basil to make my pesto. 



Fresh Basil

Organic farming Lavancia basil

This year I decided to throw basil seeds everywhere around the garden and where-ever the basil grows I will make a small altar with a statue of the Virgin Mary and bring blessed water from Mass every Sunday.

A miracle should work !

But if you want to have more practical advice on how to grow basil, you can read my article on Lavancia Organic Farm: Hints and Tips to Grow Organic .


I don't know how many of you are familiar with Trofie pasta.

They are fresh pasta like a short twisted spaghetti with a chunky texture.

It can be made at home and I will eventually post the recipe.

In the meantime, if you cannot find the fresh Trofie where you live, Barilla makes a dry version and you might be able to find it in your local supermarket.

Another option is to use the Fusilli.

Though be careful and check the cooking time of your Trofie.

Mix the trofie with the pesto

Boil the green beans with the potatoes

It is very important in this recipe, that the potatoes, the green beans, and the Trofie are cooked in the same pot as the starch from the potatoes adds to the creaminess of the pasta.

I add the Trofie in the last 3 minutes of cooking time because my fresh Trofie only requires 3 minutes of cooking. 


If your Trofie needs more time to cook add them earlier so that everything is ready at the same time.

The potatoes should cook 18 minutes, the green beans 3 to 5 minutes depending on their size.

The Trofie from Barilla need to cook for 10 minutes, so add them after 8 minutes of boiling the potatoes.

Drain the trofie, the potatoes and the green bean

Basil Parmesan and olive oil

For this recipe, I made a 1-minute video and you can see it here below.

But before you get started I want to share with you another important hint for the pesto recipe.

I use the Braun Mixer (Affiliate link from Amazon) and never blend all at once. 



The pesto should be made with intermittent pulses otherwise the heat from the blade will oxidize the basil.

The result is a bitter and dark looking pesto.

Also, add the pine nuts last if you want to taste their crunchiness.

You can keep the pesto in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

You could freeze the pesto into an ice cube container, but don't expect the same taste as a fresh one.

Genovese pesto

For instructions on recipes template see post: Food Madness: Digital & Apps

For measurement conversions see post: How much is a Cup in grams and the most useful cooking conversions

5 from 5 votes
traditional genovese pesto recipe pasta

The Classic Pesto Recipe Pasta Trofie
Prep Time
10 mins

Cook Time
20 mins

Total Time
30 mins


The traditional Genovese pesto recipe pasta is made with fresh trofie pasta, green beans and potatoes. They are all cook together so that the starch from the potatoes will make the sauce even creamier.



Italian food, Pasta with Pesto, Traditional Italian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 515 kcal

  • 500
    fresh trofie pasta
    cooking time should be around 3 minutes
  • 2
  • 200
    fresh green beans
  • 1
    coarse salt
For the Pesto
  • 50
    basil leaves
  • 6
    Parmesan cheese
  • 2
    pecorino cheese
  • 1/2
    extra virgin olive oil
  • 1
    pine nuts
  • 1
    of garlic peeled
  • 1
  • 1
    of salt

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into cubes

  2. In a large pan boil the potatoes for 10 minutes with 1 tbsp of salt 

    Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes
  3. Clean and trim the stem ends of the green beans

    Clean the green beans
  4. Add the green beans to the boiling potatoes and boil for 5 minutes

    Boil the green beans with the potatoes
  5. Add the trofie and cook for 3 more minutes. The trofie cooking time should be 3 minutes. 

  6. All the vegetables and the pasta should finish cooking at the same time. 18 minutes for the potatoes, 5 for the green beans and 3 for the trofie.  If the trofie have a cooking time longer than 3 minutes add them earlier.

Make the Pesto
  1. Add all the ingredients for the pesto in a blender. 

    Basil Parmesan and olive oil
  2. The pesto should be mixed gradually with pulsing movements. If mixed continuously the heat created by the blades will oxidize the basil turning the pesto into a dark colour.
    Genovese pesto
  3. Add 2 tbsp of the boiling water into the pesto to make it creamier. I also add 1 tbsp of butter, but it is optional

    Add butter and pasta water to the pesto
Combining all
  1. Drain the trofie, the potatoes and the green beans

    Drain the trofie, the potatoes and the green bean
  2. Mix immediately with the pesto, add more Parmesan and serve while still warm

    Mix the trofie with the pesto

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Calories 515 calories per serving Fat 24 gr per serving Carbohydrates 63 gr per serving Cholesterol 10 mg Proteins 14 gr per serving Sugar 1 gr per serving Sodium 2437 mg per serving

Nutritional information is provided for general purpose only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely.


Traditionally, the Genovese pesto recipe is served with fresh Trofie pasta, green beans, and potatoes. They are all cooked together as the starch from the potatoes makes the sauce creamier. #yourguardianchef #pasta #italianfood

  12 comments for “The Classic Pasta with Pesto Recipe from Genova

  1. 11th January 2018 at 9:48 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever had Trofie pasta! I want to find some so I can taste this delicious recipe! If I can’t find some, then I’ll replace it! This looks so delicious Laura and I love your video!

    • Laura
      12th January 2018 at 5:31 am

      Thank you Elaine, I am planning to post the recipe for homemade trofie so then you will be set

  2. 12th January 2018 at 7:19 am

    Don’t get me started on my basil growing woes, 10 years I have tried with absolutely no success whatsoever, like you I have tried everything from old wives tales through to all the usual technical advice and nada!

    Such a lovely looking and sounding dish, must give it a try even if I have to buy the Basil 😉

    • Laura
      12th January 2018 at 8:41 am

      Brian, I am glad I am not the only one. At least I have Liguria’s basil fields close by. I might try to mingle with some farmers to uncover their secrets. The amount of pesto we eat is unbelievable and if successful I will convert all the grass in the garden into basils.

  3. 12th January 2018 at 9:44 am

    This pasta looks so good and so easy to make! I love pesto!

    • Laura
      12th January 2018 at 9:46 am

      thank you Natalie

  4. Gina
    12th January 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve never had this type of pasta but I know I love pesto nothing like fresh basil.. looks delicious!

    • Laura
      12th January 2018 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks, I definitely need to post the recipe for the pasta then

  5. 12th January 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Well Laura, I am like you–no success whatsoever on growing basil. I thought it was just me! But I do love basil pesto paired with pasta and potatoes—just never put pasta with potatoes together. Now I have to try it.

    • Laura
      12th January 2018 at 2:12 pm

      I am glad I not the only one. You should really try, in Italy it is a classy

  6. 12th January 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Love Trofie! This looks incredible paired with the green beans and potatoes. Such a comforting meal.

    • Laura
      13th January 2018 at 4:31 am


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