Trenette al pesto

Italian pasta with pesto sauce   Traditional recipe from Liguria

Pasta with pesto is a typical Ligurian recipe to do in summer, the season when basil is fragrant but you can make this pasta dish with pesto even in winter with winter pesto. Did you know it? Follow my instructions, it's yummy! In winter, basil is replaced by the heart of the Swiss chard :))

Italian pasta tossed with pesto sauce made with basil, garlic, Parmesan and pecorino cheese
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Italian pasta with pesto sauce

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 280g (10 ounces) trenette or linguini or other long pasta
  • Pesto sauce for four people
  • Grated parmesan cheese, if you want
  • Salt
  • Time:
    preparation: 5 minutes
    without time for pesto sauce
    cooking: 25 minutes
    total: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 480 (kcal) 24 % GDA (*)- 2009 (kJ)
    Protein: 11.0 (g) 15 % GDA
    Total fat: 25.1 (g) 36 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 56.1 (g) 21 % GDA
    Sugars: 3.7 (g) 5 % GDA

Look at infographic of nutrition facts

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Pasta with pesto sauce recipe

Preparation and cooking

  • - Cook trenette al dente stage in abundant salt water.
    Be careful not to use too much salt in water: pesto sauce is salty for the precence of cheese.
  • - Drain trenette but put apart some cooking water to dilute pesto sauce if it is too thick.

Just before serving

  • - Toss trenette with pesto sauce in a bowl. You can find the link to pesto sauce recipe below.
    Stir and serve immediately.



  • - Put grated Parmesan in a bowl on the table: don't sprinkle it on the top of pasta! Everyone must free to add it or not.
  • - There is another recipe made with trofie like this one but there are more ingredients: potatoes and green beans.

Menu planning

  • - In Italy we use pesto sauce to toss different pasta shapes. Especially long pasta. We Italians prefer trenette called also linguini or bavette. Perhaps you know them as flat spaghetti. They are 2-4mm wide and are the best pasta shape for pesto sauce.
  • - In Italy we haven't the habit of tossing spaghetti with pesto sauce but we also use pesto sauce to toss trofie, lasagna or gnocchi.
  • - Recently it has become fashionable pizza with pesto sauce on top. It is a new recipe for us too.
  • - Pasta with pesto can be included in your daily menu in summer or be part of a full menu. Basil has its full fragrance in summer and so it isn't a good thing to prepare pesto sauce in winter. Prefer winter pesto made with Swiss Chard as people who live in Genoa and Liguria have the habit to do.

Useful links for this recipe

  • - Here's the recipe for pesto sauce that includes winter pesto too.

Healthy eating

  • - Pasta with pesto sauce is high in fat. So be careful adding more cheese.
    Each tablespoon (15 g) Parmesan has 58 calories and 4.2 g of fat.
    More or less the same thing for Pecorino cheese.
    For people who follow a low-fat diet it is a dish to do seldom.
    If you make it, pay particular attention to the choice of remaing foods in the day. In any case, it is virtually a single-course meal in your daily menu. Complete your meal with fresh seasonal fruit.
  • - Nutrition facts don't include Parmesan to add on the top of pasta.


What's the right wine for " Italian pasta with pesto sauce "?

My husband and I prefer to pair white wines from Liguria that is Pigato or Vermentino (Riviera Ligure di Ponente) to pasta with pesto.