What to Do With a Lot of Basil
We have a pretty wonderful problem: what to do with the half row of basil I planted and is now producing prolifically.
I had never grown it from seeds before in the garden so like a dummy, I planted a whole pack of seeds thinking if four or five plants grew, it would be amazing.
But I think every seed grew! I replanted some to spread out the seedlings to give them room to develop and well, first thing I knew I had enough to maybe supply a restaurant!
Everything online said to pair it with tomatoes but ours are slow coming on so I decided to use up some of my canned tomatoes from last year and make up some all purpose tomato sauce for spaghetti or other uses. Does that make sense? We’ve also been blessed with plenty of fresh oregano and parsley in the garden.
And supply a restaurant? Not quite, but I know the folks at our local Patchwork Pantry Food ministry get plenty of cooks as clients who love basil and know how to use it, so I took a whole bag there this week. Any other locals in need of basil, shoot me an email or message me and I will be happy to share it. Freely ye have received, freely give.
Tomato Sauce (or loaded tomato soup)
3 quarts canned tomatoes
2 cups (stuffed down) basil leaves
2 Tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic
4-5 small red onions
4 medium mushrooms
1 Tablespoon salt
3-4 sprigs of parsley chopped
3-4 sprigs of oregano chopped
4 bay leaves
Sauté basil, onions, garlic, mushrooms in olive oil until tender. Add tomato sauce and salt, parsley, oregano and bay leaves. Simmer on low (or one notch up from low) for 3 hours. Serve with spaghetti or freeze for another day!
I took out a broth-y sample after about 1.5 hours and it made a delicious soup for myself on a chilly rainy day, topped with parsley and feta cheese. Yum. You could also blend the mixture before eating to make more of a bisque or use one of those nifty hand blenders right in the pot (which I don’t own, yet!).
What do you like to do with basil? Or lots of tomatoes?
We ate our first one from the garden last night!
Natalie Francisco shared a lovely recipe from a French restaurant for a Tomato Basil Soup in my Whatever Happened to Dinner cookbook, available here.