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what to do with a big bunch of basil, not pesto!

Hi Bought a big bunch of basil for a dinner party I was having this weekend, was going to make a caprese salad but we never got around to it. So now I have a lot of basil to use. I was also wondering how best to preserve it if I cannot find something to make with it. I already have enough frozen pesto.

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  1. You can do a nice tomato sauce with tomatoes, garlic, onions, lots of mushrooms and lots of basil.

    Saute the onions and garlic and mushrooms, all finely diced. Add the tomatoes and simmer for a while. Turn off the heat and add lots and lots of basil. Let it cool a bit and puree. This goes very well on ravioli.

    For proportions, I'll use a 750 ml can of tomatoes to about a cup of diced onion, a cup of diced mushrooms and a packed cup of basil.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

      Mm-m, the sauce sounds good!

      Basil is nice in a salad of white beans, tuna packed in olive oil and caramelized onions. I like mussels cooked in white wine or heavy cream with basil, shallots and roasted red peppers. If you have a ice cream maker, make cantalope sorbet with basil, orange juice and a little sugar.

      If you bake, here's a link for a basil-beer bread; I can't quite wrap my mouth around it, it's something I'd have to taste, but I have a feeling it's quite good:


      Here's a link with some other storing options, aside from the ubiquitious pesto and dried basil:


      EDIT; Here's the chow th ead link the basil-beer bread came from; the thread contains other basil ideas:

      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

        Simple salads just layer on salad plate in order litsted:
        Sliced tomato
        Green olives
        Drizzle EVOO and Basamic Vinegar
        (lots of pepper and little bit of salt for us)
        Beautifl and tasty!
        OR my fav -- Pizza with basil and tomato only (Margitta Pizza I believe)

      2. Roll it tight in saran wrap about the size of a medium cigar and freeze. It won't be like fresh, but it will be better than dried. I do it with cilantro too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

          That approach works with dill and epazote, too. Since those come in big bunches and get used sparingly, I lay them. stems all to one side on a strip of wrap 12 to 18 inches long. Then I cover that with another sheet of wrap before rolling tightly. That way when I want to use a little, I don't have to defrost the whole roll.

          With dill, especially, if I take time to separate out the coarse stems, I'll sometimes just freeze it in a single roll with all the dill together in the center, then shave off some from the end when I need a little. That works for things that are going to get shredded finely. (It's even easier to shred when it's frozen.)

        2. I cut mine up and cover it with EVOO, put in fridge or freezer for future use.

          1. I love to use spinach and basil together, equal (and large) amounts of each. It works well in this tart:
            (substituting spinach/basil for the chard), or in a spinach-basil ricotta pie I make. For the pie, put the spinach and basil (about 8-10 cups total before chopping, but the recipe is flexible) and roasted red peppers in the food processor, process until finely chopped, and mix with 1-2 cups of ricotta and two eggs. Pour into a pie crust and sprinkle pine nuts on top, then bake at 350 for about half an hour.

            1. I love to make herb salads ever since I saw Jacques Pepin make one on TV. :) Such a simple idea, but so good.

              Also you can stuff a pork loin with basil and roasted red pepper and cheese, or anything else you might like.

              For a sweet twist- I love basil smoothies, and adding basil to strawberry when i make strawberry sorbet.

              1. potato crisps, slice potatoes REALLY thinly and place a leaf in between two slices and brush them with butter, season, bake in the oven with something pressing on them until they're tender then bake them uncovered (brush more butter if neccessary) until they're brown and crispy.

                I did this with sage though but it shooould work with basil

                1. There's a really simple salad I like to make with raw zucchini, raw (if it's really fresh and sweet, otherwise cooked) corn, grape tomatoes and lots of basil. I believe it's this recipe (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...), but you can omit the sugar entirely and cut back on or omit the oil (I often use just lemon juice) -- and, like I said, leave the corn raw if it's good stuff. Or use frozen corn. It's incredibly good, thanks in part to the tons of basil.

                  Another thing I like to do with lots of basil is make pappa al pomodoro, or tomato-bread soup, which can take lots of whole basil leaves. You don't really need a recipe for the soup; I just saute garlic in oil, add hunks of stale bread, brown them a little, add a 28 oz. can of good tomatoes, mash everything up, cover with broth, season and simmer till it's all warm and soupy. And then I top it with tons of fresh basil and pepper.

                  I also put lots of basil in my scrambled eggs. And I like adding whole leaves to spinach salad, for a nice surprise when you think you're biting into a baby spinach leaf.

                  I've also had fabulous basil ice pops from Las Paletas in Nashville that are probably pretty easy to replicate; they have basil ground up into a sweetened milk base so the whole thing is pale green.

                  1. This Saveur recipe just arrived in my inbox, cherry tomatoes, garlic and lots of basil with braised with chicken legs and thighs:


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      This recipe reminds me of a really easy recipe that I enjoy -- delicious and just SO SO EASY. The recipe calls for marjoram but when I read the link above, I thought basil would be fantastic too. Just one pan -- throw in the fresh herbs (BASIL, here), chicken thighs, a little crushed red pepper, a few cloves of garlic, a little olive oil, and lots of grape tomatoes -- I like to cut them in half. Roast at 450 until chicken is cooked through. Serve with crusty bread, or even some simple orzo.


                    2. roasted!

                      sometimes i'll put aluminum foil, layer tomato slices, then fish like halibut or something comparable, then some sauteed onion and garlic, then a big handful of basil. close up the foil and bake at 375.

                      basil pancakes with spinach and ricotta -- mix flour, egg, milk and basil. chop and saute some onion, then mix with cooked spinach and ricotta and a dash of nutmeg. (this combo also works with butternut squash). cook pancakes then layer with the spinach/cheese mixture.

                      1. Last summer when I bought too much basil, I made basil hummus, which was pretty good, and basil ice cream, which was fantastic. It's refreshing the way mint ice cream is. http://tinyurl.com/cacnlo

                        1. I just made a batch of Basil Ice Cream that was really good! If you have basil, egg, salt, heavy cream, whole milk and sugar, and a blender and ice cream maker you have everything! Epicuious.com is where I got the recipe.

                            1. BLTs with basil mayo-search epi. Basicallu, add a big bunch of basil to some good mayo. Makes BLTs even better than they were to begin with.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: girlwonder88

                                I like this idea a lot. Also the one about baking the basil with thinly-sliced potatoes.

                              2. I might make a potato salad with vinaigrette and shallots. Basil would be great in that. You could even add halves of cherry tomatoes before serving.

                                1. I love this recipe for pasta with goat cheese, tomatoes, and basil. You could definitely use more basil than the half cup called for, if you wanted to.

                                  PASTA WITH TOMATOES & GOAT CHEESE

                                  3 T. olive oil
                                  3 cloves garlic, minced
                                  2 large tomatoes, chopped
                                  ½ lb. pasta (fresh or dried)
                                  ½ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
                                  4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
                                  2 T. cream
                                  1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
                                  Kosher salt
                                  Ground black pepper

                                  • In a small frying pan, heat olive oil. Add the garlic and stir-fry until soft.
                                  • Add the tomatoes and cook until just starting to break down. Remove from heat and let cool.
                                  • Cook the pasta until al dente; rinse, drain, and place in a serving bowl.
                                  • Add the tomatoes, basil, goat cheese, cream, and Parmesan. Toss well to thoroughly combine.
                                  • Add salt and pepper to taste.

                                  Makes 4 main-course servings.

                                  Note: Tomatoes and garlic can be left uncooked, if preferred.

                                  1. Make Basil Syrup add gin lime juice and ice. Basil Gimlet! And you can store the syrup in the freezer for more basil gimlets later ( - %