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Luca Pasta: Trenette al Pesto Recipe

Disney Pixar’s Luca is a favorite movie in our house. The movie is all about Luca the sea monster and his wish the discover life on the shores of Italy. He makes some friends during his adventures and loves this classic dish he’s discovers at his friend Guilia’s house. Now you can eat some Trenette al Pesto, or as we call it Luca pasta, like the characters in the movie with this delicious pasta recipe!

Where Is Trenette al Pesto From?

Trenette al Pesto hails from Northern Italy around Genoa, where the pesto recipe originates. It’s a traditional Ligurian dish that uses ingredients like pine nuts, pesto, green beans, potato, and of course pasta!

What Is Trenette?

Trenette is a long pasta that kind of looks like fettuccine but made with whole wheat flour. Finding trenette in the US can be difficult and expensive, but if you’re looking for an authentic Italian pasta experience, you can grab a package of the pasta here.

If you don’t mind substituting, and trust me your kids won’t know the difference, linguine or fettuccine works well.

What Is Pesto?

Pesto is a traditional sauce served in Northern Italy made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil. You can make your own or get a jar of pre-made at any grocery store.

How to Make Nut Free Pesto

Although most versions of pesto contain pine nuts, my husband has a nut allergy so we avoid nuts when we cook. There are plenty of premade versions that don’t have pine nuts in them, but we prefer to make ours homemade.

In this recipe I’ve included instructions on how to adapt the pesto recipe to make it nut-free. It’s as simple as leaving the pine nuts out when you’re making your homemade pesto. The sauce is just as flavorful and no one will miss them.

How to Make Trenette al Pesto (Luca Pasta)

The flavors are amazing and the dish easy to make, which is always a plus in my book! Plus, this recipe uses ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

There are a few tricks to getting a perfect bowl of Luca pasta, but they are simple things to do, promise!

  • The first is to add your diced potato to the boiling, salted water first. The potato takes a bit longer to cook than the pasta so give it about 4-5 minutes to boil first.
  • To get the perfect pesto, you don’t want to let the basil get warm or it will wilt and cook. If you’re mixing your ingredients in a food processor, make sure to use short bursts to combine the mixture so the machine doesn’t heat up the basil.
  • Save about a 1 1/3 cups of the pasta water before you drain the pasta water or spoon it into each bowl. You’ll need it to mix in the pasta later.
Luca Pasta: Trenette al Pesto Recipe by The Everyday Mouse

Why Salt Pasta Water?

The answer is simple, adding a touch of salt to the pasta water will season your dish. It also means you don’t have to add salt later in the recipe since it’s already been added earlier!

Why Add Pasta Water to The Sauce?

Adding pasta water to the sauce, gives the final dish a nice creamy consistency. Just be sure to leave about 1/3 cup of pasta water in the bottom of each bowl before draining and rinsing your pasta.

The starch will help bind everything together with the pasta when mixing. It’s also what helps create the amazing flavor, so don’t skip this part!

With delicious flavors like the ones in this dish, it’s no wonder why Luca & Bruno stayed for dinner at Guilia’s so often!

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this pasta from Luca recipe. It makes a great meal for your family or the perfect date night dish.

Pair it with some warm bread and a glass of wine (grape juice for kiddos!) and you have a great movie night planned!

Just follow the Trenette al Pesto recipe below for to make your own Luca pasta for your family and transport them to the Italian Riviera tonight.

More Luca Fun

Luca Activity Pages

Luca Frappuccino Recipe

Yield: 4 Servings

Luca Trenette al Pesto

Luca Trenette al Pesto

Now you can eat some Trenette al Pesto, or as we call it Luca pasta, like the characters in the movie with this delicious pasta recipe!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 3 cups of Fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Fresh parmesan
  • 1/2 cup Locatelli pecorino romano
  • 1/3 cup Pine nuts
  • 3 Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 1/2 cups Fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 lb. Trenette pasta or linguine pasta
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Olive oil


    1. Add water to a tall pot.

    2. Bring water to a rolling boil.

    3. Add one teaspoon salt.

    4. Once the water starts boiling, add the diced potato to the water.

    5. Cook for 4 minutes.

    6. Add the pasta to the boiling water.

    7. Cook the pasta and potato for 8 minutes, then add in trimmed green beans.

    8. Cook until pasta is al dente, about 5-8 more minutes.

    9. Before you drain the pasta, reserve about 1/3 cup of the pasta water to mix with the pesto sauce.

    10. Strain pasta but do not rinse it.

    11. Set aside.

    12. With a mortar and pestle or a food processor, blend together one teaspoon of salt, basil, garlic, cheeses, 1/2 cup olive oil, and pine nuts (leave the pine nuts out if you're worried about allergies).

    13. The mixture should be a thick puree or paste. If your pesto is too thick, add a little olive oil.

    14. In a large serving bowl, add about a 1/3 cup pasta water and two tablespoonfuls of pesto.

    15. Add the pasta, potatoes, and green beans.

    16. Toss well and serve!

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