Trofie are a type of fresh pasta typical of the Ligurian tradition, ideal to be paired with the classic Genovese pesto. For their homemade preparation, only three ingredients are needed: durum wheat semolina, water, and salt. Once a smooth and homogeneous dough is obtained, small pieces of dough are taken and allowed to slide along the palm of the hand.
This way, the characteristic corkscrew shape is achieved, elongated and twisted, allowing the trofie to embrace the chosen sauce perfectly. A recipe that requires a pinch of skill but is certainly not difficult to execute at home, capable of bringing great satisfaction to the table.
When the trofie are ready, simply boil them in boiling and salted water for about 5 minutes, drain them, and enjoy them with a fragrant basil pesto, a sauce of fresh cherry tomatoes, or with the pairing of your choice, such as asparagus and salmon. Perfect for any family lunch or dinner with friends, they will captivate both adults and children with their irresistible goodness.
Discover how to prepare homemade trofie by following the step-by-step procedure and tips. Also, try the Montecarlo pasta.
History and origins of trofie pasta
Of ancient origins, it seems that trofie originated during the Crusades, between the 11th and 13th centuries: ship cooks prepared them by kneading flour and water, then quickly rubbing them on the galley countertops. Over the years, they evolved into a familiar and ritualistic product, thanks to Ligurian women who lovingly crafted them in their kitchens with simple ingredients and then sold them.
To obtain the characteristic curled and elongated shape, these women used a wooden knitting needle around which a small piece of dough was rolled and then flattened with the palm of the hand. The success was so great that in 1977, to meet a continuously increasing demand, the first machine for their mechanical production was invented.
Today, production is mostly industrial and is carried out with specific machinery. The name could derive from the Genoese dialect “strufuggiâ,” meaning “to rub,” referring to the necessary movement to curl them; according to another interpretation, it could come from the Greek “trophe,” meaning “nourishment,” but it is more likely derived from “trépho,” meaning to turn or twist.
How to make your homemade Trofie
- Sift the durum wheat semolina into a bowl, add water gradually, and begin to mix the ingredients with a spoon.
- Knead the mixture vigorously on a work surface for a few minutes. At the end, you should have a soft but not sticky dough.
- Cover the dough with a bowl and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- After the resting time, take small pieces of the dough to form balls the size of marbles.
- Roll the ball along the palm of your hand.
- Then, twist it by sliding it to the right under the back of your hand.
- As you proceed, arrange the trofie on a floured cutting board or tray.
- Boil the trofie in boiling salted water, then drain them and transfer them to a bowl with pesto.
- Toss and, if necessary, add a little cooking water.
- Homemade trofie with pesto are ready to be enjoyed.
For those who prefer, you can make trofie by replacing durum wheat semolina with all-purpose flour (type 00), or by creating a mix of type 00 and whole wheat flour. Following our measurements, you should use 300 grams of type 00 flour and 100 grams of whole wheat flour, then work the dough as per the recipe.
The amount of water needed for making trofie may vary depending on the type of flour used, so it’s advisable to add it gradually, checking the consistency of the dough.
To work the trofie effectively, the dough should be slightly moist but not sticky. Sprinkle the work surface with a minimal amount of flour and choose a rather rough work surface; it will be easier to achieve the twisted shape.
How to store homemade trofie
Homemade trofie can be stored at room temperature, covered with a cloth, for a maximum of 2 days.
Alternatively, you can transfer them to the freezer a few at a time and, once frozen, gather them into a single food-grade plastic bag.
Ideas how to dress Homemade Trofie
Homemade trofie is a versatile pasta shape, perfect to pair with any seafood or land-based sauce: from refined dishes with cream and shrimp or asparagus and salmon, to timeless classics like pesto, carlofortina, or Montecarlo pasta, and including a variation with walnut cream and speck.
Pesto is the king: the best sauce to dress this type of pasta.
However, trofie should not necessarily be paired only and exclusively with pesto: in fact, other interesting and appropriate condiments can be considered:
- with courgette cream and bacon. The courgette cream with its delicate flavor contrasts the stronger notes of the smoked bacon. Furthermore, the particular tapered shape of the trofie goes exquisitely with this seasoning, retaining the sauce in the mixture.
- Portofino, which compared to the traditional ones with pesto, are flavored with a special sauce made from Genoese pesto and fresh tomato sauce. In this way the best-known recipe is revisited without eliminating its traditional nature, as the color and taste of the pasta is toned down by the tomato tip.
- with cream and sausage
- with salmon and a fresh lemon cream