Basil was probably one of the first herbs that I began to grow years ago, specifically Genovese Basil. It’s certainly one of those herbs that anyone can grow – in the house or in the garden – it can be done. My biggest problem is knowing when to QUIT planting it! Fortunately, I love the flavor and so I use it often both fresh, frozen and cooked.
One of my long-time favorites is this pesto recipe I found years ago in Southern Living (of course!). It’s simple and freezes well. I use plastic ice cube trays to freeze mine, but you can just freeze it in “dollops” on a baking sheet. Either way, store it double-wrapped in freezer bags. I use it all winter long in soups, pasta dishes, with meat sauces, and on breads.
- 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preparation:Process all ingredients in an electric blender or food processor until mixture is smooth, stopping once to scrape down sides. Makes 2 cups.
Note: Pesto may be frozen in 2-tablespoon portions in sections of ice cube trays. Allow 1 cube per 2 ounces pasta.
Adapted from: Ruth Davidson, Arlington, Virginia, Southern Living, JULY 1996
Note: While this recipe did not call for it, I think the basil retains its color better if you blanch it slightly in boiling water before using it. You certainly do not have to do that, but it remains greener if you do.
Chicken with Tomatoes and Pesto
6 – 8 ounces cavatappi (corkscrew)* pasta
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 14 1/2 ounce can Italian style stewed
4 teaspoons pesto (homemade or commercial)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup sliced ripe olives
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Salt and pepper chicken to taste. In a large skillet, slightly sauté chopped onion; add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the chicken. Cover and cook ten minutes over medium heat. Remove cover and cook about seven minutes over medium heat until the chicken is done. Remove from heat and add the olives. Spread one teaspoon pesto over each chicken breast and top with cheese. Cover until cheese melts. Serve over pasta.
|Courtesy of National Pasta Asso.|
*Cavatappi (“Corkscrew”) - The tight spiral locks-in the flavor allowing the shape to pair with both simple and sophisticated sauces. Pair Cavatappi with meat, cream, vegetable or oil based sauces. Also, these shapes are great when used in pasta salads.
Any similar pasta will work with this dish.
Note: Basil does not respond very well to refrigeration. The best thing to do is to use what you have as soon as you can. Try it fresh in salads, on sandwiches, stirred into scrambled eggs, etc. If you must refrigerate it, cut the bottom of the stems under water, stand the stems in a glass of cold water and cover with a plastic bag. Recut the stems and change the water each day. Make sure this is not placed in the coldest part of your refrigerator – certainly not where it will freeze.
Crock Pot Wednesdays are coming August 5! Check back here for details.
This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday. You should check out all of the great menus for the week and the great tips and other resources.
- Monday: Jamaican jerk pork tenderloin with raspberry chipotle glaze. Salad: Baked Pear and Goat Cheese Salad.
- Tuesday: Hubby has a bank board meeting, so I’ll be eating salad and leftovers.
- Wednesday: Dance Lesson and Date Night
- Thursday: Chicken with Tomatoes and Pesto, fresh spring green salad .
- Friday: Birthday celebration with Danny – He turns 60!
- Saturday: play day with the Grands – probably Brenda’s Drive-in for the corn dogs that they love. Dinner is flexible.
This post will also be linked to Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, Works For Me Wednesdays, Ultimate Recipe Swap, Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap, Finer Things Friday.