Do you ever wonder what to do with all the basil you have grown in your garden or in a container? I don’t know about you but I have the most prolific crop this year. Of course, I love fresh basil on tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, I love it made into pesto and serve with pasta and I love to use it to season soups and sauces.
BASIL IS PART OF THE MINT FAMILY it is an aromatic herb. It can be eaten fresh or dried. There are so many RECIPES for using basil where to start. My favorite is on fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. I pick the fresh leaves, place several on top of each other, roll them up and then use my kitchen shears to snip them into small pieces. Your joyful kitchen should have kitchen shears. I use mine for all kinds of things, especially cutting raw chicken. They will cut right through bones making easy work of cutting up a whole chicken. And, of course that will save you money not having to buy chicken already cut up. Also works great for cutting sausage that is in CASINGS. But I regress, back to BASIL.
Basil growing on the deck
Making your own BASIL PESTO is a great way to enjoy fresh basil into the winter months. I freeze it using ice-cube trays and when frozen pop them out and store them in plastic containers or bags. Then you just add some cubes to make PESTO PASTA. There is nothing better than remembering the lazy, wonderful days of summer when you bite into pesto pasta in the dead of winter made with your own or store-bought pesto. It reminds you of those long evenings before dark when you were leisurely dining enjoying the evening. I also dry basil leaves in my DEHYDRATOR. I do not have the patience to gather the stalks of basil, tie them with string and hang in the basement or some other dark out-of-the-way place. It takes too long and when I have done this I seem to forget about them. So the DEHYDRATOR works for me .
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano Cheese, grated
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
- Combine the basil in with the pine nuts or walnuts, in a food processor. Pulse a few times. (If you are using walnuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first before adding the basil) Add the garlic and pulse a few more times.
- Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
- Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended.
- Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- I like to pulse the basil first then add the nuts so they will not be too finely chopped. When they are larger they add an interesting texture to the pesto.
- Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices; you decide it will be yummy!!!
- I make a pasta salad by adding the pesto to shell pasta with chopped red onions and frozen garden peas.
My family will be enjoying pesto pasta salad for the weekend. I hope you too will be making something yummy in your Joyful Kitchen, the heart of your home.
Joy Always, Cissy