If you garden in a temperate zone within the Southern Hemisphere then chances are that you have a lot of basil around. Basil that wont last too much longer as the weather cools. I know I do. Which nicely brings me to what I intend to do with it. These are my top 5 uses for Basil:
Pesto – Everyone’s favourite basil based sauce. Pesto is quick, easy, delicious and freezable. What’s not to like. I free mine in meal sized portions after I’ve whizzed the pine nuts, basil, garlic and olive oil together in the food processor but before the cheese is added. Not really sure why but it works really well doing it that way. I wont add to the wealth of pesto recipes on the net but if you feel you’d like one, this looks as good as any. (I never add lemon to mine).
Puttanesca- I used to only ever make Puttanesca pasta sauce with parsley but then I posted on it and got heaps of comments from people who used basil. Now I use basil too, although I think I still prefer the parsley version but the basil aint half bad and a useful alternative as it is generally available at times when parsley is in short supply.
Freeze it- I tend to freeze quite a bit of basil. I detach the leaves from the stalks and freeze them whole. They do discolour but provided you use them in cooking it doesn’t matter much. It is a great way to get a basil hit in the middle of winter.
Salads- I love throwing basil leaves into mixed salads. They taste great, add interest and provide a nice green element. I also use them a lot with tomatoes, but at this time of the year the fresh tomato supplies are dwindling so I use them more with other salad ingredients.
Add it to passata- Whenever I’ve been given passata made by Aussies of Italian descent there’s always quite of bit of basil in it. I’ve never preserved my tomatoes with basil but I reckon I should give it a go. Who would argue with ‘Nonna’ after all?
Those are my Top 5 uses for basil. What do you think I’ve missed?