Basil is one of my most favorite herbs. I love it and surprisingly it has many more uses that in spaghetti sauce and tomato based dishes. There are a number of different basils available. I prefer the Genovese variety and that is what I grow on my farm.
Basil is often used fresh and like many herbs should be added near the end of cooking or the flavor is diminished. Dried basil is popular but the flavor is so much less than that of fresh basil. I prefer to freeze my leftover basil and add directly to cooked dished rather than use dried.
Since recipes for pesto and pasta sauce are readily available in many cookbooks and online I will provide you with some alternate, yet delicious ways to use basil. I hope you enjoy! And remember, you can click on any of the recipe titles below for a free printable recipe card!
Basil – Lime Sorbet
1 C. Water
1 C. Sugar
¾ C. Lime juice
15-20 Basil leaves, minced
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil one minute then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add minced basil, lime juice and cooled simple syrup to a blender and puree. Pour into a container and cover. Place in the freezer for two hours. Remove from the freezer and break into large pieces. Return frozen pieces to the blender and blend until smooth. Quickly return to the freezer and store until ready to eat. Note: You can substitute mint in place of the basil for another tasty treat.
Basil and Lemon Capellini
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. butter, softened
3 tbsp. olive oil
10-15 fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 package capellini or thin, angel hair pasta
salt and pepper
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring several quarts of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook pasta to desired tenderness. Meanwhile, combine lemon juice and zest, butter, olive oil, basil and parsley in a large bowl big enough to hold all of the pasta. When the pasta is cooked, lift directly from cooking water into the serving bowl with tongs. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh parmigiano-reggiano cheese. Add cooked chicken or shrimp to the pasta for an even heartier meal.
Strawberry Balsamic Basil Spritzer
½ cups Sugar
½ cups Water
4 whole Basil Stems
½ cups minced Basil leaves
1 ½ cup Chopped Strawberries
1-½ Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
3 cups Prosecco Sparkling Wine (or substitute sparkling water)
Combine the sugar, water and basil stems in a small saucepan. Stirring frequently, bring the mixture to a boil for about a minute, and then remove from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then remove the stems and add the minced basil. Place in a jar or other airtight container and allow to cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).
In a food processor, combine the strawberries and balsamic vinegar and blend into a puree. In a pitcher, combine chilled basil syrup and balsamic puree. Add in Prosecco and stir well before pouring into glasses. Serve over crushed ice.