This past Sunday we did some planting in our little plot of earth. We love basil, as well as other herbs and spices. We try to cram in as many herbs, spices, veggies and fruits as we possibly can in our little suburban plot. This means we use the beds around the trees to plant herbs and spices. This little circle has 20 pots of basil with 3 plants per pot. It forms a dense, luscious green covering feeding a wide variety of honey bees while providing us enough basil that we never buy basil during the summer and we use a lot of basil. We use basil in caprese salads
In this fabulous Tom Khaa Soup
In almost any Italian dish
We simply go out back, snip a little basil and use what we need. If there is any left over, we put it in a glass with a little water and keep it on the counter until we need it again.
Basil will keep indefinitely in a glass of water on your countertop. In fact, it will root if you don’t use it quick enough. If it does, we simply replant it outside and watch it grow.
One of our favorite uses for basil is in pesto. Pesto is so versatile. You can use it in pasta dishes like this one. You can use it as a spread on sandwiches, like the Portobello Mushroom Burger. You can rub it on grilled meats, it is especially good on chicken. It makes a wonderful aioli. You can use it as a finishing seasoning in soups. There is even a Pesto Panna Cotta dessert. The uses of pesto are limited only by your imagination. This dish is one of our favorite uses for pesto. We hope you try it and like it.
- 1 lb shrimp, 30-36 count
- 3 cups packed basil
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 lb bocconcini balls
- 4 red Fresno peppers, sliced
- 1 zucchini, julienned
- 1/2 pt yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 pt red cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 lb gemelli pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
For the Pesto: Process basil, oil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, zest, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped; season with salt and pepper. This should make 1-1/2 cups of pesto and you will have some (a lot) left over for other uses. It will keep in the refrigerator for 7 – 10 days without discoloring and it freezes well. You want the pesto to be relatively think as you are going to stir it into the pasta and add a little of the pasta water to melt the cheese and cream out the dish.
Cut the veggies: Once the pesto is completed, cut the veggies. Julienne the zucchini. Slice the Fresno peppers. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Drain the bocconcini, if you choose cut them in half as well. In a sauté pan, lightly sauté the zucchini and Fresno peppers and set aside.
Cook the pasta: Get a large pot/dutch oven, fill with water and heavily salt the water. Pasta water should be very salty. We use about a handful of coarse sea salt for 1 lb of pasta. When the water reaches a boil, add the pasta and cook for approximately 10 minutes until done.
For the Shrimp: After you add the pasta to the water, start the shrimp. Things are going to move pretty quick now. Baby Lady believes in spraying the sheet pan with oil and then seasoning the sheet pan with Old Bay seasoning, laying the shrimp on the pan on top of the seasoning, spraying the shrimp, seasoning the top of the shrimp and then roasting the shrimp in a 325 F oven for 5 minutes or until done. This actually provides you a wonderful depth of flavor for the shrimp to go with the pasta
You want the shrimp and pasta to finish at roughly the same time.
Assemble: Drain the pasta and put in a bowl. Add 3/4 cup of the citrus pesto to the pasta, along with the veggies, shrimp and bocconcini. Toss to incorporate. If you’re like Baby Lady and want to kick it up a notch, add a little crushed pepper.
Serve and enjoy.