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What is Trenette?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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Trenette is a kind of pasta common in the Liguria and Genoa regions of Italy. As such, it is regularly associated with those regions within Italian cuisine. The pasta itself is narrow and flat and looks quite similar to linguine in its shape. One of the most common uses of this kind of pasta is in the dish trenette al pest in which the noodles are served with pesto alla genovese, a sauce made using basil leaves. It is common for this dish to be served with green beans and potatoes, which are boiled in water alongside the trenette.

One of the key features of trenette is that the pasta is made from an eggless dough. It requires few ingredients and is rather easy to make at home as long as one is willing to be patient and spend time kneading the dough until it is perfect. A simple recipe for trenette dough calls for two and a half cups (568 milliliters) of unbleached all-purpose flour, one cup of water (225 milliliters), and two teaspoons (10 milliliters) of olive oil. The water should be cold when it is added to the mixture. Also, a pinch of salt should be added.

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In order to make trenette by hand, put all of the flour on a flat surface, such as a large cutting board or sanitized kitchen work surface. Pile the flour together and create a well in the center. Pour the water and oil into this well and add the pinch of salt. Then begin slowing mixing the wet and dry ingredients by hand. Once the mixture has become uniform, knead it into a ball. The dough can then be rolled into flat strips by hand or processed into these kinds of strips using a pasta machine.

The next step in making authentic trenette is getting the strips into the right width and shape. Each strand of the pasta should be about one quarter of an inch (about 6 millimeters) thick. One edge of the pasta should be flat and the other side should have a zig-zag pattern. With the right attachment and setting, this shape can be made using the assistance of a pasta machine. Alternatively, the pasta can be cut using a knife for one side and a pastry cutter for the other. It is common for pastries to have this jagged edge and a pastry tool will also work well for trenette.

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