Hello kitchen lovers!! Time for new series of Kitchen God’s and Goddesses! So moment has come to number four in Kitchen God’s Olympus and it is called – Basil! Or I would like to say better – Basilico, because everything I have discovered about this fantastic herb was found in Italian cuisine.
Firstly, I want to inform you that I’m not a cooking guru at all, kitchen is not the place I stay often, so this post will be useful not only for kitchen lovers but also for beginners as myself. So now, shortly about WHAT is it this herb named Basil and WHERE does it come from.
Even if I have discovered magical use of this herb in Italian cuisine, Basil origins leads us to India. It’s even said that ancient records talk that Basil might come from region of Hunan in China. All in all, what I wanted to stress is that Basil comes from ASIAN EAST. First use of Basil in ancient times was as a preserving herb found in mummies of ancient Egypt, it was also symbol of mourning Greece where basil was called ROAYL or KINGLY herb. And that’s SO SO true. Basil is magnificient because it can be used from pesto to spaghetti sauce to deserts, so as you have already understood BASIL RULES THE KITCHEN.
Now, I would like to share some tips on HOW TO CHOOSE basil in the shop, if you don’t have luxury to grow it indoors, at your home for example. So whenever you’re buying basil look for fresh, vibrant green leaves with NO DARK spots on them. Fresh basil leaves should be put into damp paper towels and can be stored refrigerated up to 4 days. One thing to remember: NEVER WASH THE LEAVES UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO USE THEM.
Second thing to talk about, is WHERE basil can be used. So, let’s start with saying that Basil is main complement to tomatoes, onions, garlic and olives. These are Basil main team members which will never let you down. You can use basil also with oregano and rosemary which will make really beautiful combination of flavors. Now my favorite one – PESTO SAUCE. I have to admit I just LOVE pesto sauce as Pasta con Pesto for me is the best from pasta dishes. In Italy, pine nuts and usually grated hard cheese is added to pesto. However, there are possible variations for pesto sauce. I will share with you mine, which will make your pasta DIVINE.
So now, I’m sharing my favorite dishes where I use BASIL, or in this case I will use name BASILICO as these two dishes comes from Italy, so it would make more sense using italian name of basil – basilico!! Yes, these dishes will be very very simple, but for me LESS IS MORE, so not always luxury food is the best one, sometimes that what comes easy and simple becomes BEST dish to eat.
So, I’m starting with PASTA WITH PESTO.
DISH COOKING TIME: 10-15 minutes
WHAT WILL YOU NEED:
375 g of dried pasta
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed ( if you love garlic, of course you can put more)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Shaved parmesan cheese, for serving with dish
WHAT TO DO:
Firstly, cook pasta in saucepan of boiling water which are salted. Follow timing and directions which will be written on the pasta packet. Cook pasta according right timing, drain and return to pan.
While your pasta will be cooking, put basil, garlic and olive oil to blender and process all these products. Put salt and pepper according to your needs in the made sauce.
Add pesto sauce to pasta. Toss to combine, put two leaves on basilico on the top of pasta. TIME TO SERVE.
Next simple dish to make for example for easy and light dinner: BRUSCHETTA CON MOZZARELLA. In English it will sound toasted bread with mozzarella.
DISH COOKING TIME: 15 – 20 minutes
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
Italian bread Ciabatta cut in slices (you can choose how thick your slice should be)
Fresh, firm tomato, washed and coarsely chopped
Mozzarella cheese in small cubes
Fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Mediterranean spices (I’m using already made mix of Italian herbs)
salt and pepper for your taste
WHAT TO DO:
Before starting preparations, turn on your oven to make come there the heat. Then start slicing Italian bread. After take a bowl and put there garlic (for your taste, I’m putting 2-3 garlic “teeth”), two table spoons of extra virgin olive oil and mix of Italian herbs spices or any other Mediterranean spices. Mix them all. Take every slice of bread and add their on the top this sauce we just made. Usually I’m putting 1 coffee spoon of sauce to every slice of bread. Then take mozzarella and slice it in small cubes. Do same thing with tomatoes. Firstly, put, then sliced tomatoes, then put mozzarella cheese on the top of sliced bread. Whenever your oven is ready, place these slices of bread with mozzarella and tomatoes in to oven. Leave them until mozzarella melts for 15-20 minutes, oven temperature – 200 degrees.
After 15-20 minutes, take those marvelous bruschetta con mozzarella out, put several leaves of basil on the each of piece of sliced bread and your dish is ready to serve. Buon appetito!
That’s all for now about Basil my dearest readers! I will share more and more simple and easy recipes about the fantastic dishes with basil! Hope you will love those simple dishes and whenever you are cooking your own dishes, never forget to add this KING HERB to your dish.
Photos from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/basil,