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Sweet Basil
Culinary Basil

Pesto Recipe

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced

Place basil leaves in small batches in food processor and whip until well chopped (do about 3/4 cup at a time). Add about 1/3 the nuts and garlic, blend again.
Add about 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese; blend while slowly adding about 1/3 of the olive oil, stopping to scrape down sides of container.
Process basil pesto it forms a thick smooth paste. Repeat until all ingredients are used, mix all batches together well. Serve over pasta. Basil pesto keeps in refrigerator one week, or freeze for a few months

Pesto Cheesecake

Follow homemade pesto instructions or use purchased pesto in this appetizer cheesecake recipe.
  • 1 package fresh basil, about 1/2 cup
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese -- grated
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese -- grated
  • 2 package,8oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese -- grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

For Pesto: Finely chop first three ingredients in processor. With motor still running pour olive oil slowly down feed tube, process until well incorporated. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and blend well. (If desired use 1/2 cup commercial pesto sauce.)

For Cheesecake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rub butter over botton and sides of 9-inch springform pan. Mix breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons Parmesan and coat pan with the crumb mixture. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, salt and cayenne in a large bowl until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Transfer half of mixture to medium bowl. Mix pesto mixture into remaining half. Pour pesto mixture into prepared pan; smooth top. Carefully spoon plain mixture over; gently smooth top. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup pine nuts and bake until center no longer moves when pan is shaken, about 45 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.



One of the most culinary herbs is Sweet Basil. The best flavor of purple basil comes from the Red Rubin variety. And especially good in Thai dishes is the Thai Basil whose leaves have a spicy aniseed aroma with hints of mint and citrus. All can be found at most seed and plant nurseries.

 If you are unfamiliar with the nuances of different basils, your best bet is to start with Sweet Basil (most often used in Pesto). Basil is available in fresh leaves and in dried leaves, which are also sometimes called rubbed. Fresh leaves may be stored in a cool place or in the refrigerator for a very short time.

If you have an herb garden with an excess of basil, you can dry the leaves and store in a cool dry, dark place (dried basil will retain it's flavor for six months). Add dried herbs at the beginning and during cooking.

Add fresh herbs only at the end of cooking or upon serving. Many species of the basil herb exist, but the most popular is Sweet Basil. Basil is considered one of the most important and highly used herbs in the culinary world and is popular in the cooking of many types of cuisine.

The strong, clove like flavor is essential to many Italian recipes and it is paired most often with tomatoes. Basil is primarily used in sauces, pizzas, salads and pasta dishes. It is also the main ingredient used in pesto.

Basil Eggplant - (Pud Makua Yow) 

Basil eggplant is a simple dish to make. The basil and chili pepper, however, turn the mundane eggplant into something exciting. It can also be made without peppers for kids.

In Thailand, the eggplants are green and long and unlike the big dark purplish eggplants that you can find in supermarkets here in the US. Purple Japanese eggplant is used in the pictures here, but any eggplant ie. American or Japanese can be used in this recipe.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil  

For a vegetarian dish, substitute soy sauce for fish sauce.
1 bunch Thai basil, leaves picked from the stem  
1 tablespoon sugar  
2 cloves garlic, chopped  
2 tablespoons fish sauce  
2   eggplants  
2   chili peppers  

Slice the eggplants into irregular shapes for easy turning in the pan. When it is sliced into a small disk, it tends to stick to the bottom of the pan and makes it difficult to flip or turn.

Chop garlic and slice chili peppers. Pick the leaves from the stem of the Thai basil.

Heat a pan or wok over high or medium high. Add oil, chili peppers and garlic. Stir until the garlic turn golden brown. Add eggplant and stir. Add a cup of water and cover the pan or wok with a lid. Keep the lid close until the eggplant is cooked. It should take about 5-7 minutes before the eggplant is done. The eggplant turns from white to translucent when it is done. Almost all of the water should have been evaporated at this point. If the eggplant is still not cooked, add a little bit more water and keep lid closed until the eggplant is ready. Add fish sauce and sugar and stir. Add Thai basil and quickly stir to heat the basil, so that it retains it color. Turn off heat immediately.

Serve hot with rice.


Thai Basil

Red Rubin Basil