Dining

The Crème de la Crème of all herbs

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Fresh picked basil from my herb garden (photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

Fresh picked basil from my herb garden (photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

I think that basil is the Crème de la Crème of all herbs, and its sweet, aromatic leaves offer a subtle flavor to any dish. As far as I’m concerned, there is never enough. I grow sweet basil in my herb garden. I picked some this morning and made some fresh Basil and Spinach Dip. (See recipe below). I also love to just pluck a few of the leaves and place it in a glass of ice-water. Move over sugary water drinks, this is much better for you!

Basil and Spinach Dip

SERVES FOUR

  • 1-½ cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, cleaned
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ¾ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and quartered
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Preparation after the jump:

For the basil and spinach dip:

In a food processor combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth. Cover and process until smooth, stopping processor and scraping sides as necessary.

To Plate:

Place in a dipping bowl and serve with a loaf of crusty Italian bread. It’s healthy, light, and easy to whip up for that last minute party with friends.

Maria’s Tip: Place unused pesto in an ice-cube try, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen, remove cubes from the ice tray and store loosely in an airtight container and freeze. Individual cubes are always available to season sauces and stews.

Recipe by Maria Desiderata Montana

Maria Desiderata Montana is an award-winning food and wine journalist, editor, and published author based in San Diego. She gained an appreciation of European cuisine from her parents who were born and raised in Calabria, Italy. Visit her website at www.sandiegofoodfinds.com.

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