9 posts tagged basil
Bucatini with pesto and sautéed cherry tomatoes
Last year we grew so much basil in our garden I was making up recipes just to find a use for it. I’m still enjoying the large quantity of pesto I froze last fall. This lunch took only minutes to throw together but tasted amazing. FYI, bucatini is a thick strand of pasta with a thin hollow core
To make this, cook any shape pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain. Meanwhile, heat small amount olive oil in fry pan. Add cherry tomatoes, cut-side down. Cook until they soften. Remove from heat. Return pasta to sauce pan and stir in pesto and tomatoes. Serve immediately in preheated bowl.
My friend Mimi dropped by a recipe not too long ago along with a jar of oil-cured olives and a can of first-rate canned tomatoes. She was so in love with this recipe she couldn’t wait for me to try it. Guys, this quick and easy dish is amazingly good. The photo doesn’t do it justice.
Fettucini with tomato cream sauce, from Cooking Light magazine.
- 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
- 4 quarts boiling water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed
- 3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup oil-cured olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved
Cook pasta in 4 quarts boiling water with 1/4 teaspoon salt for 8 minutes or until noodles are almost al dente. Drain pasta through a sieve over a bowl; reserve 1 1/3 cups pasta cooking water.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until very fragrant and tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and tomatoes; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in reserved 1 1/3 cups pasta water; bring to a boil. Add cream cheese; stir until smooth. Add pasta, olives, and red pepper; cook 3 minutes or until pasta is al dente, tossing to coat. Divide pasta mixture among 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon basil. Divide Parmigiano-Reggiano evenly among servings.
We’ve had a good supply of basil this summer due to my daughter’s experiments growing it. But it’s beginning to flower and there’s more of it than I really know what to do with (other than pesto) so I decided to make basil be the focus of last night’s dinner. Besides, I had a different Thai basil chicken recipe I was eager to try.
Even though it’s really good, I’m not sure I’ll ever make the earlier recipe again. This one was over-the-top delicious, and much more like I what I was hoping for the first time around. It calls for a full-cup of basil, and I suggest you don’t skimp. The beautiful, speckled sauce was bursting spicy basil-garlic-coconut milk flavor. And because we have an 18-foot long, 10-foot high wall of green beans, I added some of those as well as a couple of carrots. And the great news is that there are leftovers, so it will be our dinner again tonight. Win, win.
For another basil-inspired dish, check out my trottole pasta with creamy pesto sauce.
Thai basil chicken, ingredients and method modified slightly from the truly wonderful Nordstrom cookbook, Entertaining at Home.
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked jasmine or other long-grain white rice
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1 cup packed fresh Thai basil (I used sweet basil)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese chili sauce with garlic
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
- 2 cups trimmed green beans (I cut mine in half)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
- Salt to taste
Prepare the rice according to package directions. When it has finished cooking, stir in 2 tablespoons of the coconut milk.
While rice is cooking, in a food processor fitted with steel blade, process the basil, fish sauce and chili sauce until it resembles pesto; add the reserved coconut milk and process until just blended. Set aside.
Steam the green beans and carrots until firm-tender. Remove from heat.
While vegetables are steaming, heat the oils in a large skillet or wok over medium heat and add the onion. Cook the onion until soft and golden brown. Add the garlic and continue to cook until garlic is soft, about 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook until nearly cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add the carrots and green beans and continue to cook another minute or two. Pour in the basil coconut sauce and bring to gentle simmer. Allow to simmer uncovered for 2 more minutes to combine flavors. Stir occasionally. Do not overcook or chicken will be tough. Taste and add salt only if needed. Spoon over cooked rice.
Note: The original recipe calls for 2 red bell peppers, seeded, de-ribbed and chopped. I’m not overly keen on bell peppers, but if you wish to use them, add them at the same time you would add the steamed vegetables and continue with the recipe.
Cheese pizza with home-grown tomatoes
Our go-to dinner on busy summer nights.
I’m glad you liked it, and thanks so much for writing!
You can find the recipe for Trottole pasta with creamy pesto sauce here. And here’s a great, basic recipe for pesto sauce:
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste.
If I don’t have what I need to make my own, Costco sells wonderful pesto sauce under their “Kirkland” label.
Trottole pasta with creamy pesto sauce
Sometimes I crave pasta. Or I should say, pasta with some sort of creamy sauce mixed with it. I gave into the crave, and this was lunch today. I cooked 1/2 pound of Trottole pasta in salted water until al dente. After draining it, I immediately stirred in my creamy pesto sauce. Then, just to make things pretty, I spooned it into a glass serving bowl and garnished it with fresh basil leaves and tomato wedges.
Creamy pesto sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons pesto sauce
Make a béchamel sauce by melting the butter in a large sauce pan and whisk in the flour. Cook over medium high heat until flour cooks, approximately 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk all at once and continue to cook until it thickens, whisking all the while. Reduce heat and add salt and pesto sauce. Continue to stir until hot.
Note: “trottole” in Italian means top, as in the toy you spin on the floor.
Fresh. Organic. Gorgeous.
Rainbow Swiss chard, kale, fava beans, basil, and green onions in my copper paella pan.
Cheese pizza with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.
Hard day. Good meal.
Working as a contractor was something that was new to me. I’ve enjoyed being my own boss in two successful business ventures, and have experienced “working for the man” as an FTE in the corporate world. The opportunity as a contractor gave me an experience to connect with some of my favorite people from my last job, and add value to a new project. It’s all good. The gig is over and now I can focus on creative endeavors. I’m grateful for the chance to work with some really nice people at the job I will walk away from tomorrow.
Basil chicken with cashews recipe inspired by Martin Yan.
- 1/4 cup lager-style beer, like Tsingtao
- 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoon lager-style beer, like Tsingtao
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable, canola or peanut oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 ounces trimmed asparagus or green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced (my own idea because I love carrots)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 4 teaspoons water
- 1 fresh jalapeno or serano chili, thinly sliced into rings (optional)
- 1/2 cup lightly packed Thai basil or sweet basil leaves
- 1/2 cup roasted cashews
- cooked Jasmine rice
Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Place a wok or wide sauté pan over high heat until hot. Add the oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the chicken, asparagus and carrots and cook, stirring constantly until the chicken is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to boil. Add the cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in chili pepper, basil leaves and cashews.
Note: If you decide to use green beans, they require more time to cook. I steamed mine separately, and added them at the end.