Of all the pasta that we make, we love making trofie best of all. It is one of a number of pasta shapes that are highly prized if made by hand. Traditionally served freshly made and covered in pesto alla Genovese, trofie are what is referred to ‘feeling good in the mouth’.
Trofie pasta originated on the Golfo Paradiso, a stretch of rocky coast dotted with small coves and maritime villages to the east of Genoa in Liguria. Famous all over Italy, trofie are traditionally tossed with Genoese pesto sauce.
Trofie are said to date from a long time ago, possibly from the time of the Crusades. In the past, Ligurian women used to make them by hand, with flour and water, using a sort of large wooden knitting needle on which they rolled a string of dough, which they subsequently crushed with the palm of their hand.
Today, production of trofie is mostly industrial, made with specific machines.
Trofie are rather small (3 to 4 cm) and have a thin, curled, elongated shape, thicker in the center and thinner at the tips. The thick center is created as small strips of pasta are rolled between the palms.
The name ‘trofie’ could derive from the Genoese dialect ‘strufuggia’’, meaning to rub, a verb that indicates the hand movement needed to give the classic shape to the dough.
In the traditional recipe, which is the most widespread, trofie are seasoned with the classic Ligurian pesto, prepared with the Genoese basil. A variation, also used for other types of pasta seasoned with pesto, includes boiled potatoes and green beans.
Despite being a specialty of the eastern Ligurian coast, trofie are celebrated throughout the region, in nearby Piedmont and known throughout Italy. Since 1985, every 15th August, a festival dedicated to trofie col pesto takes place in Sori, a village overlooking the sea on the Golfo Paradiso, east of Genoa.