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May 3, 2010 04:07 AM

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.