Basil is a fragrant herb with large, pointed-oval leaves. The leaves are generally a bright-green colour, but can also have hints of purple or red. Basil has a mildly sweet and aromatic flavour which is bold enough to overpower other flavours if too much is used. Basil is a favourite in Italian cuisine, but is delicious in any recipe.
Choose basil with fresh looking, brightly coloured leaves. Avoid leaves that are blackened or discoloured. Store basil, wrapped in a paper towel, in a plastic bag in the fridge for five to seven days. Basil leaves will blacken if left to sit after cutting and should only be cut directly before use.
Serving Suggestion: Basil pesto has a deep flavour and light texture. Briefly pulse two cups tightly packed basil leaves together in a food processor with 1/4 cup pine nuts. Add three cloves of garlic and pulse to combine. Turn the food processor to a medium-high speed and blend in olive oil until desired consistency is reached, usually about 1/2 cup. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add 1/2 cup Romano cheese. Pulse until well combined. Serve with pasta, toast or vegetables.