Culinary Institute of America Recipe
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Trenette al Pesto

Trenette pasta is also known as bavette. It is a ribbon-shaped pasta, usually a little thinner than linguine, more like a flattened spaghetti. It is traditional in Genoa, where it is thought to be a perfect pairing with the region’s famous pesto.

Pesto is such a classic condiment, and there are probably hundreds of different variations. A really great pesto has a good balance of flavors. This isn’t always easy when you are dealing with seasonal produce, like basil. We strongly recommend that you weigh out the ingredients when you prepare basil pesto, especially if you are making a large batch. Use a digital scale for accuracy. Choose an olive oil with a mild flavor so the flavors of basil and garlic come through.

From Italian Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America.





Makes 4–6 Servings

  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 1 lb trenette, bavette, or linguine
  • 1 cup diced potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups trimmed green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 cup Pesto (recipe below), or as needed
  • Toasted pine nuts, for garnish (optional)


Makes 3 cups

  • 1/4 oz garlic (about 1 small clove)
  • 8 oz basil leaves, picked off the stems and then weighed (or about 4 cups loosely packed leaves)
  • 1 oz pine nuts (1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 2 oz Pecorino Romano (1/2 cup)
  • 2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil; covering the pot will help it come to a boil more quickly.
  2. Add the trenette all at once and stir a few times to separate the pasta. Add the potatoes and green beans 2 minutes after adding the pasta. Cook uncovered at a boil until the pasta and the potatoes are just tender to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Transfer a few ladlefuls of pasta water from the pot to a bowl or cup to have ready for finishing the sauce. (You may need up to 1/2 cup.)
  4. Drain the pasta and vegetables immediately through a colander. Shake well to remove any water clinging to the pasta. Pour the drained pasta and vegetables into a large serving bowl.
  5. Add the pesto to the trenette and toss together until the pasta is evenly coated. The pesto should appear creamy, not oily. If necessary, add a bit of the reserved pasta water.
  6. Garnish the dish with a few toasted pine nuts if desired. Serve at once.


  1. Slice the garlic and blanch it in a small amount of boiling water for 1 minute if necessary (see Chef's Tip).
  2. In a blender, combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and 3/4 cup of the oil and blend until crushed; season with salt to taste. Add more olive oil if needed for good consistency.
  3. Add both cheeses and blend to a smooth sauce. Do not run the blender at high speed or the heat of the blade will change the color of the pesto. Set aside with a little oil on top to avoid oxidation. After using the pesto, always flatten the surface and cover it with a little oil.
Chef's Tip:
Garlic is an important ingredient in pesto. However, its flavor intensifies in the pesto over time, so if you are making a large batch of pesto that you plan to store for a few days, you may wish to blanch the sliced garlic for about 1 minute in boiling water to remove any harsh or bitter flavors. If you are going to be using the pesto right way, you can skip this step.

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