Basilico Italiano: You Just Can’t Cook Without It

Last week I and admitted to adding a pepper – or three – to most of my dishes. But there is another staple that warms my heart and sends me running to the balcony at least once a day.

Ahhh, basilico. Few Italian dishes are complete without it and while it is true my Texana-blood already had a thing for hot peppers, fresh basil is working its way into my heart.

And I am not alone.

Miss Expatria confessed her love of basil in a non-so-secret love letter she penned this summer.

Ms. Adventures in Italy conjured up a basil liqueur last October.

And Kalyn Denny talked about her devotion to basil and offered over 30 recipes in a guest post at BlogHer.

 Plus, it is healthy. According to  Peggy Trowbridge Filippone at About.Com, “basil stimulates the appetite and helps curb flatulence … basil tea is also said to help with dysentery, nausea and stomach distress due to gas”

Well, then.

Better stock up!

Basil is my favorite fresh herb to add to pasta, sandwiches or a slice of mozzarella. What is yours? What is one herb you couldn’t – or wouldn’t want to – live without?

12 Responses
  1. I checked out the basilcello – never heard of it before. The colour is so inviting.

    Cherrye, I honestly couldn’t pick just one herb. I’ve been fascinated by these humble weeds for years, not just for cooking, but also for their healing properties. I love them all. Here is my “I couldn’t live without these ones” list: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Basil, oregano, bay, mint… no, I can’t stop. I want them all. Salad burnet, angelica, fennel, dill…
    Ha ha!! That is funny. I like those others, too but basil is special to me! lol

  2. Basilico is the smell which carries my mind back to our summers in Positano. We even use the flower stalks in cooked sauces because they hold the flavour so well.
    Origano is another herb that I use all the time and it brings the image of my grandmother to mind…
    I love the scents of both of those herbs, too. I love how distinct they are!
    Scintilla’s last blog post..All that you can’t leave behind…

  3. I love basil, but I must admit, it is so. very. hard. to store. Goes bad in the fridge after like a day?!!

    I grow some herbs and I also love thyme, parsley and rosemary, I think I couldn’t live without the italian parsley.

    But I do share your *love* of basil!!
    It is hard to store, Robin. I was going to take all of ours (since it will ruin soon) and make pesto, but a big storm came through this weekend and I have very little left… very sad!
    My Melange’s last blog post..All Roads Lead to Rome?

  4. I love basil too — sadly, now it not a good time of year to get it locally here, and I don’t like to buy basil shipped in from far flung places — it bruises so easily and is just not the same — though, of course, soemtimes I just break down and buy it even if it was shipped in. In summer, however, it’s a different story — i buy it every week at the market and cook a lot with basil and it makes me very happy. As for other herbs — this time of year I love sage and thyme — and am always thankful for how sturdy flat leaf parsley is. Even whether other herbs are meh at the store or the market, there’s always parsley.
    I hear ya. I get sad when it is not fresh, too.
    City Girl’s last blog post..A Chain Ethnic Grocery Store

  5. Love, love, love basil. The smell of it just amazing. Any time I buy tomatoes at my local farmers’ market they throw in a bunch of basil for free.

    Rosemary, oregano, parsley, the list goes on. I can’t wait to have a garden where I can grow them.
    I think I love basil because of the smell, as well. It smells like a good pizza! ha ha

  6. We grow basil in our little garden and the hubby’s homemade pesto is famous. One herb I love and can’t really find in Italy is coriander.
    I’d love that recipe. Is it on your blog?!? YUM! Speaking of coriander, an expat just went to America and brought me some back! 😉
    Milanese Masala’s last blog post..Cucina confidential

  7. j

    It’s a staple here. I even take it from my garden in the fall and put it in pots on a window sill for the winter. There isn’t much light here in Cleveland in the winter, so it doesn’t grow, but it doesn’t die, so I can pick it and have fresh basil until all the leaves are gone.
    That is a great idea. Like I said above, a big storm came through and tore most of mine apart. I’ll have to go through it and see what I can save!

  8. Basil lover here too. Storing isn’t hard at all once you know the trick…want to know the trick? For keeping it fresh, wrap the ends in a damp paper towel, then put the whole bunch in a slightly moist plastic bag and into the fridge. I know it sounds like it’ll ruin it (I tried it for the first time with *much* doubt this summer), but this way it stayed for at least a week–which was insanely long compared to other methods I’d tried.

    But if you want to keep your basil all winter long, just freeze the leaves! Pop each one off the stems and into a freezer bag. I don’t know if you’d be able to make pesto from them, but you can surely add them to sauces and otherwise use them in cooking 🙂

    You remind me I wanted to write a post about these tips…next year I suppose 😉
    Wonderful tips, Michelle! Grazie tanto!
    michelle of bleeding espresso’s last blog post..a message from luna and stella

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