1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup or more mixed herbs, such as parsley, dill, chervil, basil, tarragon, sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram or mint (leaves and thin stems only)
1 tablespoon butter, optional
1 pound linguine or other long pasta
Freshly ground pepper
Begin heating a large pot of water for the pasta.
Meanwhile, combine the oil and garlic in a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium-low. Sauté gently, just until the garlic begins to color, then remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, wash, dry and mince the herbs. Place them in a bowl large enough to hold the pasta. Cut the butter into bits, if you’re using it, and add it to the bowl.
Salt the boiling pasta water and cook the pasta until tender but not mushy.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta and toss with the herbs and reserved oil-garlic mixture. Add a little more olive oil or some of the pasta water if you did not use butter or mixture seems dry.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Serves 4 as side dish.
Cooking with Basil