Thursday, July 20, 2006

For the love of Basil

Up until 3 years ago, I was often heard saying that you could never plant too much basil. My husband and I were both very fond of pesto. I would make it with fresh basil and garlic from the garden, saute fresh mushrooms along with bell peppers and onions from the garden. Toss it all with some angel hair pasta and it was as good as anything I have ever had at an Italian Restuarant. Sometimes we would have some grilled boneless chicken breasts along with it and sometimes we would toss cut up crab in it. Everyone loved my pesto. And then we had to first eliminate dairy (how could you make a decent pesto without romano cheese?) and then Andy was diagnosed with celiac and the gluten had to go as well. I stopped growing basil. What was the point? I didn't need that much for other uses - the main use had always been pesto. It took us a long time to find a gluten free pasta that was acceptable, but we finally did (Tinkyada brand) and I started making wonderful spaghetti sauce again, but the Tinkyada pasta is thicker than the angel hair we were used to with pesto and I besides I couldn't make pesto without dairy. I have become pretty darn good at gluten free dairy free cooking so this year I decided to plant basil again. I tinkered with what ingredients I had and what I thought I could use and came up with a pretty decent pesto (I will post pictures in a bit). I decided to use Thai thin rice noodles instead of Tinkyada gluten free spaghetti for the pasta. I picked up some fresh mushrooms today at the farmer's market, pulled an onion from the garden and picked some bell peppers and Dan and I are in heaven now. It is not as good as my old dish - but it was my first attempt - I will tinker some more - but it was pretty darn good. And the best part is that Andy ate it too. At first he was pretty suspicious since it was so green, but then he tasted it and decided he would have some!
Here is the recipe that I came up with (I did not use the whole recipe for dinner tonight - only a third of it - I froze the other two thirds.
Dairy Free Pesto
9 cloves garlic
2 cuts fresh basil leaves, washed and packed into cup
1/2 cup pine nuts (I think I will use more next time)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup miso
1/4 cup Vegan Parmesan Alternative (by Galaxy Foods)
Mix everything until smooth in a blender or food processor.


JLB said...

Right on - I'll have to give this a try! Basil is so delightful, I'm glad you found an alternative to diary and wheat in order to draw the basil back to your garden. :)

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