Purple basil. It looks more like something that belongs in a rustic floral arrangement than in food. I received a bunch in my Tribeca CSA share this week and wasn’t really sure what to make of it. I also had a sinus infection this week (I know, only me in the middle of summer…) so I wasn’t really able to smell/taste it. Based on a quick Google search, I found it was a bit milder than regular basil with a hint of licorice. To be completely honest, the sinus infection was wearing me down and I felt a bit lazy. My go to recipe for extra basil is pesto. I couldn’t think of any reason not to do the same with purple basil. I decided to go with a sun dried tomato pesto. Purple, red–how could it not look (and taste!) stunning?
The results were super yummy and beautiful. Besides the standard pesto pasta, I like spreading it on bread, tomatoes and mozzarella, sandwiches–pretty much anything that needs a pesto kick! I usually make my pesto in bulk and freeze it. I make TONS of pesto throughout the summer, then freeze it and have it all ready to go all winter. I find plastic Chinese food soup containers to be the best to freeze anything. SAVE ALL TAKEOUT CONTAINERS! Seriously, a dream for anyone who freezes and preserves. I use the quart ones for sauce and gravy, the pint ones for purees like winter squash, and the cup sized ones for pesto.
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with Purple Basil (Makes about 1 cup)
- 2 c purple basil (washed well!)
- 1/2 c walnuts (or nuts of your choice)
- 6oz sun-dried tomatoes in oil (using the sun-dried tomato oil reduces need for olive oil)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
Put all items except cheese in food processor. Puree until smooth. IF FREEZING PESTO, do not add cheese. Put pesto as is into 1/2 cup or cup sized containers (again, Chinese Food containers) and freeze up to 1 year. Defrost when using and mix in cheese. For some reason, the cheese does not freeze well and can alter taste. IF USING FRESH, add cheese and puree further until mixed. Use as desired.
Feel free to double, triple or quadruple the recipe. Try experimenting with different nuts (macadamia nuts are my favorite!), amount of ingredients; try garlic scapes instead of garlic, bitter greens instead of basil. This recipe is meant as a jumping off point. I make a huge range of pesto every year, label and date each, freeze them and welcome local ingredients during the bitter winter.