Lazy Lunch before the Genovese Derby : Trofie e Pesto

By • July 9, 2010 9 Comments

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Author Notes: A “derby” match is one in which two teams from the same city play against other. The modern game of soccer (Calcio) was introduced into Italy by the English through the port of Genoa toward the end of the 19th Century. Today Genoa has two top level professional teams; the eponymous Genoa and Sampdoria. Italy has more pasta shapes than France has cheeses. That would be more than 2,000 recognized shapes and forms. Trofie are little squiggly ones unique to the Ligurian region. This recipe is true to Genoa---the gothic, pre-war Genoa. Instructions follow for making the pasta by hand but I also know that “Rustichella d’Abruzzo” manufactures really good dried trofie (sometimes available at Whole Foods) so feel free to substitute. And the quality of your olive oil really counts here. Oh and, are you a fan of Genoa or La Samp? That matters too… - pierinopierino

Food52 Review: What's not to love in a good pesto?! It's simple, but with a ton of BIG flavor packed in. And yes, as pierino states in the instructions, the quality of the olive oil counts for a lot. Even though I rolled my own trofie this time, I probably won't do that again. In keeping with the "lazy" bit he mentions in the title, I'd buy store-bought! The toasted pine nuts on top were the perfect crunch factor. - QueenOfGreenThe Editors

Serves 4

Trofie pasta

  • 2 cups all purpose or 00 Italian flour
  • 2 fresh eggs


  • 2 to 3 cups fresh basil (decide the amount based on taste, freshness and size of leaves)
  • 1/2 cup best olive oil plus ¼ cup, see notes to cook below
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino sardo (or romano) cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (not pressed)
  • 1/4 cup; plus 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • sea salt
  1. On a large flat surface, counter or board whatever, make a well with your flour leaving some behind for bench and for your hands
  2. Break the eggs into the well, and using a fork carefully mix the eggs with the flour. Don’t go too fast (like Emeril). Work the flour slowly in from the inside, but keep everything in motion. If you break the well you’ll spend an half hour cleaning up your floor or worse the inside of an open kitchen door beneath the board.
  3. Deploy a pastry scraper to finish collecting the dough. Once things have gathered together enough and are becoming "dough like" go to work kneading it with your hands. Scrape and knead. I’ve found that pasta doughs will absorb just about as much egg as they “want” and then that’s enough. Make sure that your hands are floured. With the help of the scraper form a dough ball. Flatten it, give it a half turn and a fold over, another half turn and fold a fold over etc. unitl it’s become a soft and workable double dough. But before you use it seal it up in cling wrap in ball form and allow it to rest for ½ hour.
  4. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  5. Keep your dough scraper handy, and flour your hands again. When working with fresh pasta dough think of an egg . That’s about the size you want to cut off of your rested ball of dough. Knead it a bit more and then roll it into a thin, narrow dowel about the size of a bread stick. I have a friend who is really good at rolling out “dowels” for everything from gnocchi to orrechiette so I allow her to do this for me. And you may want to envision these trofie as very skinny little gnocchi.
  6. Using a very sharp paring knife, slice very small sections from the dowel. Aim for the width of the antenna on your Iphone, oh what’s that? A cm or something? With your palms roll these into little, skinny slug like shapes---giving them a little twist at the end. Drop on your parchment and soldier on. Cut and roll.
  7. Wash and dry your basil
  8. Grate your two cheeses
  9. Call your mother on your cell
  10. Chop your garlic
  11. Roughly tear the basil up into bits and add to a food processor bowl. Follow that with the garlic, the cheeses and the first ¼ cup of pine nuts. Add sea salt and now with motor running drizzle in the first ¼ cup of olive oil. Pulse it until you have pesto. If necessary add more olive oil. Taste for salt (don’t forget this step).
  12. Boil abundant water. Fresh pasta such as these trofie will cook in just about 1 minute. For dried version, read the package.
  13. So, meanwhile in a hot skillet toast the remaining pine nuts and set aside as water boils. That’s that “meanwhile” thing.
  14. Add salt to your boiling water. Cook the squiggly trofie. Drain and toss with pesto, more olive oil as desired, and finish with more of the toasted pine nuts.
  15. Notes to cooks: Ligurians are REALLY fussy about their olive oils. Age, DOP and blah, blah. Personally I like to use strong, peppery flavored oils from California---because, hey, I live here and California oils are now about where California wines were in the ‘70’s. That translates as, gaining respect.
  16. Also we won’t rest until Rick Steves is brought to justice for his crimes against Liguria.

More Great Recipes: Entrees|Pasta|Pesto

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