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How to make trenette al pesto with your Kenwood stand mixer

Pasta is one of the world’s favourite foods, and everyone knows that there are hundreds of different types, originating from different parts of Italy and to accompany different sauces. Some, like spaghetti, are famous everywhere, while others are limited to a particular region and rarely travel. There is short pasta and long pasta , and one of these is trenette. Learn more about this pasta shape and how to prepare trenette al pesto.

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Trenette: their characteristics and origins

Trenette originate from Liguria, and their name is probably a Genoese dialect derivation for the term ‘ribbon'. The typical pasta in Liguria is long not only in form, but also in history: it is documented in Liguria as early as 1244!

Trenette are long like spaghetti, but oval in cross-section. They are ideal for light sauces that are packed with flavour. In the Ligurian tradition, they are often associated with a sauce of pesto, beans and potatoes.

Yes, because if you think ‘Genoa’ and ‘pasta’, another word immediately comes to mind: ‘pesto’! But they were not born together: when pasta made its appearance in Liguria 750 years ago, pesto had already been around in some form for 1250 years! Virgil himself describes a herb cheese spread called moretum, which uses many of the same ingredients and used to be prepared in a mortar (whence the name). However, the modern recipe for pesto making use of parmesan dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, when it made the leap from a homely and cheap local dish to national cuisine.

With their slightly rough surface, trenette and pesto constitute a match made in heaven!

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Trenette vs. linguine: what is the difference?

Trenette may look similar to other types of long pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine, but they are actually a bit different. They are narrower than fettuccine and slightly thicker than linguine, both of which are rectangular in cross-section.

How to make trenette with a Kenwood Stand Mixer

Making trenette al pesto using your Kenwood Trenette Attachment  is easy and offers perfect results every time.

In the bowl of the Kenwood stand mixer, add 150g of 00 flour, 50g of whole-wheat flour and 2 medium-sized whole eggs. Set the K-beater speed to 1 and knead until blended. Remove the K-beater and fix the dough hook. Knead the dough at speed 2 until the dough comes away from the sides and is smooth. Form into a ball and wrap in clingfilm.

Attach the Lasagne Roller attachment to the stand mixer. Take the dough and cut a thick slice, before pressing with your fingers to flatten it and help pass it through the roller, which should be set to speed 2 and setting 0. Fold the dough that emerges in half and roll again on 0. Repeat until a smooth rectangle is formed. Then pass the pasta dough through again, first on setting 1, then setting 2, and so on up to setting 6.

Ensure your work surface and sheets of pasta are lightly dusted in semolina flour to prevent them from sticking.

At this point, you can attach the Trenette Attachment and pass the sheets through. Dust the trenette that emerge with flour and hang them above the table. Allow them to air dry until ready to use. The trenette can be left for up to four hours before cooking.

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How to make pesto for trenette

The exclusive Kenwood recipe of this typically Ligurian sauce has just a few ingredients: Genoese basil, extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Ligurian), parmesan cheese (aged at least 30 months), pecorino, pine nuts, garlic and a little coarse sea salt. The secret to a fine (and original) pesto is LOTS of basil: a serving for six people requires three large bunches of basil. 

A fine pesto is easily made in your Kenwood stand mixer. Attach the Food Processor attachment to the stand mixer. Blend 100g of grated parmesan cheese with 50g grated pecorino cheese, 80g pine nuts, 25g olive oil and 1 clove of garlic at speed 3 and blend to form a smooth paste. Add 3 large bunches of basil leaves, the rest of the oil (25g), and a pinch of coarse salt, then blend again at speed 3 or 4 until creamy. Take care not to overblend or set the blade at excessive speed as this could blacken the basil. A trick to help prevent this is to put the blade in the freezer for ten minutes before use; this will help prevent oxidisation of the basil.

Pour the pesto into a jar, cover with more oil to prevent it from blackening, then refrigerate until use. Serves six.

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How to cook trenette al pesto

To cook the trenette bring plenty of salted water to the boil. In a glass or ceramic bowl, pour 1 generous spoonful of pesto per person. Stir and set aside at room temperature. Cook the trenette for 6-8 minutes, drain them al dente, transfer the trenette to the bowl with the pesto, mix well and add more pesto if necessary, then serve immediately.

For even greater convenience in preparing this staple of Italian cuisine, you can use your
Chef stand mixer to prepare both trenette and pesto. And if you are the proud owner of a Cooking Chef XL, you can even cook the pasta directly in the bowl of the stand mixer.

Buon appetito!

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