last year my lemon basil plant didn't do so well. this year it's grown into a huge bush! lemon basil is a type of basil that has a really strong lemony flavor. it grows just like basil but has smaller, skinnier leaves. it goes really well with pasta or chicken.
i make pesto two or three times a year when i finally have enough italian basil or lemon basil to make a batch. the thing is, unless you can find it really cheap at your local farmer's market, buying the amount of basil you need from the store will empty your pockets. it just isn't worth it. and right about now, if you've got your own basil garden, it should be going crazy. pesto is a great quick way to make a dent in it.
i used my lemon basil this time simply because it was out of control. i've made this exact same recipe before using italian basil instead, with some modifications. since you won't have the lemon flavor from the lemon basil, add the juice and zest of a whole lemon to the pesto. the flavor will be virtually the same. if you don't have enough lemon basil for the recipe, substitute the missing piece with italian basil. the combo of the two is good also.
lemon basil pesto
15 minutes, serves 2
1/2 pound spaghetti, linguini, angel hair, thin spaghetti - whatever long skinny noodle you like
1 cup tightly packed lemon basil leaves
juice of half a lemon (add the juice from the whole thing for extra lemon flavor)
zest of half a lemon (optional, add it if you want a lot of lemony flavor)
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- cook the pasta according to package directions. drain.
- while the pasta is cooking, make the pesto. blend the lemon basil leaves, lemon juice, zest (if using), garlic, cheese, and olive oil in a food processor or handy chopper. if you don't have a food processor, finely mince the lemon basil and garlic before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. the recipe definitely still works, it just takes a bit more time than giving it a whir in the processor.
- when the pasta is cooked, toss with the pesto. serve. brush your teeth before leaving the house.