I love the smell of fresh basil!
It is one of the wonderful smells of summer, but how can one keep basil’s pungency for winter sauces and dishes?
My favorite way to preserve basil is to make pesto, then to freeze it.
The only ingredients in my pesto are fresh basil leaves, garlic, and enough olive oil to make a paste. I blend these together, then freeze the pesto in ice cube trays or in one cup measurements ( for pesto pasta).
When I am making spaghetti sauce, I just add a cube or two of the basil pesto toward the end of the cooking time. If you like to add pine nuts to your pesto dishes, you can do so when you actually make the pasta dish.
This would also make a yummy dip- let thaw, drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and kosher salt, and serve with crusty French bread- yummy!
Dried basil is nice to have on hand too; I just dried mine on a cookie sheet in the oven. I never actually turned the oven on for it, but I was sure to put it back in immediately after I had baked. It made the house smell like basil and slow-dried the leaves at the same time.
Did you grow basil this year? Have you tried making pesto with it or do you prefer to dry it?