Pesto alla Alfieri 
Source: Alfieri Family of Tampa
Serves 4

2 cups basil leaves -- * see note  
1 clove garlic clove -- minced  
2 tablespoons pine nuts (pignolia)  
5 tablespoons olive oil  
5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese -- grated  
1 tablespoon water -- * see note
Traditionally pesto was made in a mortar and with a pestle to bruise the oil from the basil leaves.  

It can however be made effortlessly in a blender or food processor.  

Simply blend all the ingredients together, except water.  Keep Pesto in a clean jar and keep refrigerated. It will keep for up to 3 weeks. (Pesto also freezes well and can be taken from the freezer when needed.) 

Meanwhile here’s how to cook perfect dried pasta. This method works identically with all types of macaroni, spaghetti, small fusilli, or any of the other dried pasta shapes. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan with a lid. When it's boiling, add the salt and oil and let it come back to the boil. Add the pasta all in one go and stir thoroughly.   

Return to the boil and boil fast for 3 minutes and switch the heat off. No, really - switch it off completely. Put the lid on the pan. Leave it for between 5 to 9 minutes depending on how thick the pasta is, less time for thinner pasta, and then drain it through a colander or sieve. Add a tablespoon of oil and in this case the pesto sauce and stir into the pasta. The pasta will be perfectly cooked, al dente without having gone soggy, and will not require watching like a hawk - a couple of minutes either way while it's resting with the lid on won't make that much difference.  

Add tablespoon of "pasta" water to pesto before mixing and serving.  

Serve with additional fresh grated Parmesan cheese.  

    • 18 basil leaves per cup.
    • Reserve water from cooked pasta to thin mixture.

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