Basil, a very versatile herb

I have a number of herbs growing in the greenhouse and of all of these it is the basil that is the happiest and I have therefore found myself with a glut of this beautifully fragrant herb.

If there is one herb I am happy to have a glut of, it’s basil, it is such a versatile herb. From picking a few leaves for a salad through to using a big bunch for pesto, there are so many ways to use it.

Today I thought I’d have a go at using it in ways that I had, until now, not considered. My inspiration came from the wonderful blog “The Apron Archives” and her recent post for Basil and Citrus Cookies.

It was whilst making the cookies I discovered how easy it was to get a huge quantity of basil to disappear into a relatively small quantity of flour, ready to be added to pretty much anything that required flour and would benefit from the distinct flavour of basil.

I love my stick blender and it’s various attachments, and with the chopping attachment I got busy making up a good size batch of basil infused flour. The question now was…. what would I make with it?

My first choice was an obvious one….. Pasta!

Basil Linguine

We just love pasta and since discovering fresh pasta and going on to invest in a wonderful Italian Pasta Machine, we are completely addicted to the process of making it as well as the joy of eating it.

The Kitchen Gadget we adore, our Pasta Machine

Usually I make pasta dough the traditional way. A pile of flour on the kitchen bench, with a well in the centre for the eggs etc. And usually I end up in a mess, the well walls hold for a while and then the following moments are a scene of mild panic as I try to keep the contents from flowing everywhere and am scooping everything franticly into a sticky ball. Actually, this flash of chaos is pretty good fun, but it does make a mess of the kitchen bench and me.

Today, for the first time I thought I’d be lazy and see what would happen if I simply popped the ingredients into my Breville Mixer.

Ingredients for Basil Pasta Dough

In went

  • 375g of Plain Flour which I had finely chopped, using my stick blender,  70g of fresh basil leaves.
  • 10ml of Olive Oil
  • 2 fresh eggs (at room temperature)
  • 60ml of water – Add this gradually as the dough hook does its work

With all the ingredients in the bowl of my mixer, I used the dough hook to bring it all together into a ball of dough. It took no time at all and made a good, springy dough that would have taken me a fair bit of kneading had I done it my usual way. I’m not sure I’ll be playing bench top volcano games again now I know how quick and easy it is to let my mate Breville do the hard work.

One ball of Pasta Dough made in my Breville Mixer

I sprinkled flour onto the kitchen bench and gave the dough a quick knead to get rid of the slight stickiness.

I rubbed a few drops of olive oil over the ball of dough to keep it moist, wrapped it in cling film and popped it into the fridge for an hour.

All wrapped ready to do some time in the fridge!

Now for the fun bit, turning a lump of dough into delicious linguine. Time to play with the pasta machine!

Look at the wonderful colour of the basil pasta

I divided the ball of dough into four to make it easier to work with. The three pieces I am not working with straight away go back in the wrapper so they don’t dry out.

Having given the dough a quick roll with my rolling pin, I set my machine to zero and pass it through the rollers, each time I pass it through, I reduce the gap until I get to six on the dial.

The thickness at the machine’s number six setting makes a perfect linguine. So, having attached the cutter, I feed the pasta sheet through. Hubby arrives at this point, he loves using the pasta machine and is always keen to help out. He gets busy catching the freshly cut linguine and neatly hanging it on the drying rack. Pasta making is fun alone, but even better fun with two!

Freshly made linguine drying on the rack

After an hour drying on the rack it was time to get cooking.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then add the pasta. It takes just a few minutes to cook, fresh pasta cooks quickly so keep an eye on it.

I served my basil linguine with sun dried tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and finely grated parmesan. It was delicious!

And, for something sweet afterward, we had  “The Apron Archives” scrumptious Basil and Citrus Cookies.

Basil and Lemon Cookies from the recipe from The Apron Archives

Oh life is good, if not rather basil flavoured!

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This entry was posted in Baking, Basil, Harvest, Herbs, In the Kitchen, Italian Cooking, Pasta, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Basil, a very versatile herb

  1. I really enjoyed your post today:) I’ve always done things the hard way as well and am inspired to use my dough hook on the mixer. I really love those basil and lemon cookies.. wow, those would taste so wonderful!

    • Thanks Smidge. The cookies were divine, I would recommend them highly. They have a bright and cheery taste.

      Give the dough hook a go for sure, I was amazed how quickly I had pasta dough. No aching wrists from all that kneading.

  2. emmycooks says:

    That sounds delicious! How pronounced was the basil flavor in the cooked pasta?

  3. very nice! I always like having homemade pasta..I’ve been trying to grow sweet basil in my garden but they keep dying for some strange reason!! too much water?? the sound of citrus basil cookies sound absolutely divine!!

    • I’d never had much luck with basil, but the greenhouse has made a huge difference. I have manage to grow sweet basil and purple basil from seed, I am taking so much off the plants and they just grow back so quick. It’s safe to say I love my greenhouse!

  4. jeanne says:

    homemade fresh pasta and warm cookie to boot…life is indeed basil flavored!

  5. Anne-Marie says:

    Hi Bridget .. oh, yum, yum, yum. This basill past looks delicious. Your photos have inspired me to go to Capital Iron (a local shop) to purchase a pasta maker! And … basil .. at this tme of the year .. oh, wow, I would love to have a greenhouse. Do you think that dried basil would work? a.m.

    • Glad you are inspired, if you get a pasta machine make sure it is an Italian made machine, a Marcato or an Imperia Italiana they are the best. Chinese made ones are not very reliable. If you are going to get one, it’s worth the expense to get a good one, it makes all the difference in the ease of use.

      No, I’m not sure dried basil would work all that well, it’s quite a different flavour from fresh. But, if you get a machine, you could try it and see.

      Don’t forget, I am in summer here in Australia, it’s just very confusing for readers in the Northern Hemisphere!

      Happy pasta making, you’ll love it!

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