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Spaghetti with Basil and Pine Nut Sauce (Spaghetti Col Pesto

This is the great dish of the city of Genoa, which claims to grow better sweet basil than any other city in Italy! The pasta traditionally used in Genoa are trenette or egg noodles, but spaghetti has been substituted here because trenette are difficult to obtain outside Italy. Fresh basil MUST be used if the full flavour of this dish is to be preserved, but walnuts may be substituted for the pine nuts if you prefer,

ingredients

4 - 6 servings
1/2 kg (1 lb) Spaghetti or other pasta
25 g (1 oz) 2 Tbs Butter

pesto sauce

2 Garlic cloves, crushed
50 g (2 oz) 1 cup Finely chopped fresh basil
3 Tbs Finely chopped pine nuts
1/2 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste
250 ml (8 fl oz) 1 cup Olive oil
50 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

method

1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water for 10 to 12 minutes, or until 'al dente', or just tender.

2. Meanwhile, crush the garlic, basil, pine nuts and salt and pepper together in a mortar until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Gradually pound in the oil, then the cheese, until the sauce is thick and smooth.

3. Drain the spaghetti in a colander then transfer to a warmed, deep serving bowl. Add the butter and, using two large spoons, toss gently until the butter melts. Pour the sauce over the pasta and, using the spoons, toss the ingredients gently until the pasta is thoroughly coated.

4. Serve at once.

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