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