Penne with Basil and Caciocavallo

Tearing basil for this entree releases its aromatic oils and keeps its color vibrant. the herb steeps with garlic and olive oil before hot penne, pepper, and a traditional, slightly salty Italian cow's milk cheese are tossed in.

  • Servings: 4
Penne with Basil and Caciocavallo

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2005


  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed with the flat side of a large knife
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound penne
  • 2 cups grated caciocavallo cheese, plus more for sprinkling and serving
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper


  1. Stir together basil, garlic, and oil in a serving bowl; let stand 30 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid; drain pasta.

  2. Add hot pasta, the cheese, pepper, and reserved cooking liquid to the basil mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with cheese, and drizzle with oil; garnish with basil. Serve with more cheese.

Cook's Notes

If you have trouble finding caciocavallo cheese, you can substitute grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.


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