Short of sprinkling a few basil leaves over a pasta, many friends of mine don’t know what to do with basil. Easiest place to start: make pesto!
This sauce is a winner; it’s simple enough to prepare at home, has such a fresh flavour and on top of that is easy to use.
Most recipes call for a combination of basil, pine nuts, crushed garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese which you can blend in a blender and then keep in the fridge in an airtight container. If you really don’t have the time, or just don’t have a blender, you can find pesto in most supermarkets.
Use it this way:
- Mixed into pasta instead of using a cream or tomato based sauce
- On a cheese platter along with figs, sundried tomatoes, brie and olives
- Mixed into a couscous salad with some butternut cubes and thin chicken strips
- Spread on chicken breasts before baking them in the oven
- Mixed with potatoes to make a pesto potato salad
- Make a tomato, mushroom and pesto side dish: slice baby tomatoes in half lengthwise, slice Portobello mushrooms into quarters, mix the mushrooms and tomatoes in a bowl, add a good twist of black pepper and a large dollop of basil pesto, mix together and place in a serving dish and serve cold with some crumbled feta on top. As an alternative, warm the mushroom and tomato mix on the stove for a few minutes before adding the pesto and pepper. This plays beautifully with a roast beef dinner.