Seriously, I’ve been harvesting basil like mad and still have plenty of pesto frozen in my freezer. (See my September 16, 2012 blog, “In Season: Basil Pesto.”) Although I will dry some basil before the first frost, right now I am concentrating on uses for fresh basil.
The secret to bushy, abundant basil is ruthlessly preventing it from flowering and setting seed. Once the plant starts developing seeds, all of its energy goes into the next generation and not into the leaves. (See my July 22, 2012, blog, “Pinching Basil.”)
Here is recipe that worked well for using up excess basil (if there could ever truly be such a thing!) It is a heavily modified version of a recipe I found in The New York Times International Cookbook, copyright 1971. (Another find at one of my favorite library used book sales!)
2 cups fresh basil (loosely packed)
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup pecans or walnuts
2 tablespoons butter (melted)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste
1 pound of pasta
1. Wash and pat basil leaves dry.
2. Put all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Add a little extra olive oil if it is too thick. You don’t want it runny, but there has to be enough liquid for it to process properly.
3. Boil pasta until it has the mouth feel that you enjoy. Drain well.
4. Toss pasta and basil mixture together hot. Top with some additional grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
I served this pasta as a side dish hot with roasted chicken. You could also add leftover chicken, black olives, and artichoke hearts, and serve it cold as a pasta salad for lunch or a quick supper the next day. It has the added advantage of being an easy recipe to double if you are feeding a crowd. Hope you are enjoying your summer! Begonia