Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
1 lb of spaghetti or penne pasta (I used penne)
¾ cup of Kalamata (*) olives (do not use the pitted ones; take the pit out yourself--it makes a big difference in taste)
8 garlic cloves
1½ cups of loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 oz. of Kefalotyri (*) or Reggiano Parmigiano (*) finely grated
½ cup TSITALIAÂ® (*) extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
(*) These items are available at Nabeel's International Market in Homewood, AL.
Cook pasta in a 6-8 quart pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Place Kalamata olives (after you take the pits out), basil, garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add cheese, salt pepper and oil and blend to a thick paste. Transfer the Kalamata Pesto into a large bowl. Stir ½ cup of the cooking water (from the pasta) into pesto, and then add pasta and toss until well coated. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan.
* Instead of using the food processor I use a mortar and pestle. Does this make it taste better? I think so. But since many of you may not have a mortar and a pestle, that's why I have the food processor on the recipe above.