Basil and Perfectly Delicious Pesto

Basil is one of my favorite herbs. The smell alone sends me into a zen-like state. Did you know that you can grow basil from cuttings? You will want to pinch back your basil to keep it bushy, so why not use that pinch and start a new plant? I used to pinch it back at just the tops when it began to flower. However, a few years ago I learned from a hydroponics farmer that for a fuller plant, you actually want to pinch the stems lower, just above the node. So when you pinch it back you have a nice little cutting to root and grow into another beautiful basil plant. I don’t know about you, but the more basil, the better!

Basil Cutting wm

This basil top fell off the plant on the way home from the nursery. See the little roots forming?

Here’s some tips if you can’t use all your basil at once:

  • Freeze your fresh basil and you’ll have basil all winter.  Use the frozen basil in your soups. Add with some strawberries to infuse an otherwise boring glass of water. Add frozen basil to smoothies.
  • Make a batch of pesto and freeze the extra pesto in ice cube trays.

Speaking of pesto, here’s the pesto recipe we use at our house. Use homegrown basil and parsley for the freshest taste.

Pesto wm

Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
1/2 cup fresh parsley, firmly packed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil or enough for desired texture

Place all ingredients except oil in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. With processor running, pour oil into mixture. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

We use pesto a lot.

  • Spread on sourdough baguette slices and put under the broiler until just bubbly.
  • Spread onto pizza dough with chicken and sliced mozzarella slices for a delicious chicken pesto pizza.
  • Add to a pot of hot pasta for a light and delicious quick dinner.

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