This simple but tasty dish is one you might find at Pontedassio’s Sagra del Basilico (Basil Festival).

Linguine with Pesto

1lb. linguine, uncooked
3 large garlic cloves
1/3 c. olive oil
1 1/2 c. loosely packed fresh basil leaves (whole)
2/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1. Cook linguine al dente, following directions on package. Before draining, carefully scoop out 1/3 c. of pasta cooking water with a measuring cup and set aside. Drain the pasta.

2. While pasta is cooking, coarsely chop the garlic. In a food processor or blender, combine olive oil, garlic, and basil. Process until you has a moist, well-mixed paste. Transfer paste to a small bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and pasta cooking water. This is your pesto.*

3. In a large serving bowl, combine pesto and linguine, toss well, and serve.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes
Serves 4 to 6

*This is a basic pesto, but there are countless variations on the standard recipe. Add 1/4 c. toasted pine nuts, 1/4 c. lemon juice, or 2/3 c. fresh parsley when blending to change the flavor of your pesto.