1 lb dry spaghetti
1 cup basil pesto, homemade (recipe below) or store-bought
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 plum tomatoes, diced
12 black olives, halved
A pinch of fresh black pepper
A few fresh basil leaves for garnish, in season
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot over high heat. Add the spaghetti, stir, and cook for 9 minutes, until the spaghetti is al dente ("firm to the tooth").
While the spaghetti is cooking, make the pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Place basil, nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse until chopped. With the machine running, add olive oil in a stream until the pesto has the consistency of a nice sauce.
Add the pesto, parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, tomatoes and olives to a large mixing bowl. Stir gently to combine.
Drain the spaghetti, leaving a bit of the cooking water clinging to it, and add to the bowl with the sauce. Toss gently; the heat of the spaghetti will melt the cheese. Season with black pepper. Top with basil leaves, if you have them.