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Cooking With Basil

Updated on April 16, 2011

The Benefits of Cooking With Basil

I love cooking with basil. Basil is a fragrant herb that adds great flavor to foods like spaghetti, ravioli Honestly, I had never heard of basil until I started watching Giada at Home. She adds basil to a lot of her dishes. Once I tried it, I loved it.

Basil is originally from India and Persia. It also cultivated in the Mediterranean. There are many different kinds of basil each with a distinct taste. Basil belongs to the mint family and although the most popular basil to cook with is sweet basil, others cook with anise basil, cinnamon basil, lemon basil, or clove basil.

Basil has many health benefits. The oil found in basil has been shown to suppress the growth of different kinds of bacteria including staphylococcus, enterococcus, and other bacteria. Basil has been found to help the digestion and the nervous system. Basil has been known to reduce a fever and treat a cough. Basil is a natural remedy for anxiety, stress, depression, and headaches. It helps the circulatory system pump blood throughout the body. Basil provides the skin with antioxidants and naturally rejuvenates the skin.

The leaves of basil should be cut off before cooking. The stems are okay to eat, however they can have a bitter taste. A lot of herbs can overpower the flavor and smell of basil. The best herbs to use in conjunction with basil are oregano, rosemary, and sage. It is suggested to add basil at the end of cooking a dish to get the most flavor because it will lose it's oils if exposed to prolonged heat.

One of my favorite dishes is Ravioli with Spanish and Tomatoes. I got the idea of this recipe from Giada Delaurentiis's recipe Ravioli with Arugula, Tomatoes, and Pancetta

I make my dish exactly like Giada's recipe minus the arugula and pancetta. My family is not a fan of arugula or pancetta. Even though I don't use the exact ingredients of Giada Delarentiis's recipe,the food still tastes amazing.

I harvested my first batch of fresh basil yesterday. I made tomato basil soup. I used real tomatoes in my recipe. I included vegetable stock, 3 cloves of garlic, salt, onions, and basil at the end. With my immersion blender, I mixed it all together. The finish product was delightful. It tasted so fresh.


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