My friend Jen's Garden that is. Since she had an abundance of basil, she gave me a big bag full.
I love the smell of fresh basil.
In my opinion, the best way to use fresh basil is to make pesto. It can be used in so many ways, but I decided to make a pasta dish with it.
It was simple, just ditallini pasta, chopped tomato, sliced black and green olives, steamed broccoli florets, steamed sliced carrots and steamed chopped green beans. Cook the pasta, drain, but add a little pasta water to the pesto to make a quick sauce, then toss all ingredients together. Delicious!!
Here is a pesto recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis with some revisions that I made.
2 c. packed fresh basil leaves (I used 4 cups)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (This was my addition-I like the combination, plus the parsley helps the pesto retain it's vibrant green color)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (light roast nuts in small skillet until lightly toasted and fragrant)
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
about 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (For the best flavor, use freshly grated Parmigiano Regiano)
In blender, (I used a food processor) pulse basil, nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper until finely chopped. Gradually add enough oil to form a smooth, thick consistency (while blender is running). Transfer to bowl and add cheese*. Season with more salt and pepper as necessary. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.*Note: If you don't plan on using the whole batch right away, put some aside and do not add the cheese. Spoon the pesto without the cheese into an ice cube try and freeze. (The cheese tends to break down in the freezer). When frozen, transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer bag. When you are ready to use them, just thaw them in the refrigerator and then add the cheese.