Basil is a fast-growing herb that thrives in heat. It’s important to keep basil cut back. It will begin to flower and turn to seed quickly if you do not stay on top of it. If it wasn’t so darn good I wouldn’t bother with it, but alas it is one of my favorite herbs.
One of the best ways to use up the basil is to make pesto. Since pesto will only last about a week in the refrigerator I like to freeze it in air-tight freezer bags so I have some on hand all year round.
Here’s my favorite version of the classic Italian favorite:
• 4 cups basil leaves
• 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
• 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 lemon, zested
• 1 cup walnut, chopped
• 1 cup grated parmesan
• Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Cut basil from plant. Cut the herb about 1/4-inch above a node, 3 inches from the base of the plant.
- Triple wash the leaves to remove all dirt and grit. Drain and pat dry between paper towels.
- Place the basil in the food processor. Add the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, walnuts and parmesan. Begin pulsing.
- Gradually add oil into pesto through the hole on top of the processor lid adding more or less as needed, until pesto is thoroughly combined.
- Turn machine off and salt and pepper to taste.