In the Sullivan Memorial Garden, we have been weeding and keeping a watch over our plants to make sure we deal with any pests early on. While we are still a week out from garlic harvests, our basil plants have been doing so well!
Herbs like basil are a great way to reduce the amount of salt you need to use in dishes and they are easy to grow at home in containers! In the Sullivan Memorial Garden, we have four varieties growing Genovese Basil (which is a variety of your typical sweet basil), Cinnamon Basil, Purple Basil and Lemon Basil. Each variety has its own unique flavor and use in the kitchen!
Did you know?
The best way to store your basil is at room temperature. If you have stems, take a glass and stick it in with some water to keep it fresh longer!
Sweet Basil / Genovese Basil: This is your typical grocery store basil! Great to pair with pasta, use in pesto, and in salads. My mother’s particular favorite is to slice up some tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, tear up some basil and top it with a mixture of honey, balsamic vinegar and olive oil!
Lemon Basil: This variety has an extra citrusy zing and is especially popular in some South East Asian cuisines like Thai, Indonesian and the Filipino cooking! It can be cooked into curry dishes, soups and stews or eaten raw and used in fresh spring rolls. This goes particularly well with fish, you can top it on some barbequed shrimp, or even make a pesto with it!
Purple Basil: This variety has a fun, deep purple flavor, which is usually eaten raw because when cooked, it can look black! You can make this into a pesto, add it in drinks (try a purple basil lemonade!), or add it to salads.
Cinnamon Basil: This dish has some spicy, cinnamon notes. It can be used in similar ways as sweet basil. Use it in fruit salads with watermelon or strawberries! They have also been used as a replacement for cinnamon to make cookies and other sweets.
“Creamy” Summer Sweet Corn, Sweet Tomato and Basil Pasta
Adapted from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Cooking
I am a huge fan of Chris Kimball’s recipes but this is one of my absolute favorite recipes to make in the summer! There is natural creaminess and sweetness from the corn that you don’t need cream to be satisfied.
You boil the corn cobs after grating the corn off in the pasta water to infuse the pasta with so much flavor. Then you will use a cup of that pasta water into the pasta sauce itself. Pasta water is also known as “Liquid Gold” and is the secret to great pasta sauce by using the starch that came from boiling pasta to make the sauce a tad thicker and help it stick to the pasta.
The recipe may sound a bit odd but it’s so good and easy! I’d have it for every meal if I could!
In this recipe, we cut down the butter and salt, added a bit more corn and gave an option to sub out of the spice from the pepper (the original uses habanero but I use jalapeno in my house)
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 small shallots
5 ears of sweet corn
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
handful of sweet basil
12 oz farfalle (or choice of short pasta)
1 jalapeno (sub for 1/4 green pepper for no spice)
1. Bring to a boil a lightly salted pot of water to prepare for the pasta
2. Using a grater, grate the sweet corn into a large bowl.
3. Put the cobs into the pot of water and let boil for 10 minutes.
4. Mince the shallots, jalapeno (or green pepper), and half the cherry tomatoes.
5. In a medium frying pan, heat up olive oil or butter over medium heat.
6. Add shallots and cook until translucent.
7. Add grated sweet corn and jalapeno (or green pepper). Season with 3/4 tsp of salt.
8. When the pasta is al-dente, just a bit of a bite but not soft yet. Save 1 cup of the pasta water then drain the rest.
9. Add the reserved pasta water into the frying pan with the corn mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes.
10. Add the pasta and stir until coated and creamy.
11. Take off heat and add the cherry tomatoes and top with torn basil. Enjoy!