Food & Drink

Cooking with Fresh Basil


Hello all!

For tonight’s blog post I thought I would share a yummy new recipe I’ve recently come across and an old favourite – both featuring the aromatic earthy-sweet scent of fresh basil. The first recipe is called Roasted Cherry Tomato Penne with Italian Sausage and Fresh Basil from Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen, which features lots of Italian flavours with its tomato/garlic/onion/sausage base. The second recipe is from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings and is called Pad Grapow, which is a Thai Fried Basil dish that can be made with chicken, seafood, beef, or veggies and gives a nice salty-spicy flavour, which is accented with the earthy base of the basil.


Imagine the smell of oven roasted onion, garlic, sausage, and cherry tomatoes…Mmm!

Before we get into the recipes and my notes on them, I just wanted to make a note on fresh basil. I’ve purchased basil in a few forms for use in cooking, and I most definitely have a preference of using fresh basil from a plant over any other form. I found a small basil plant at my local Sobey’s store and kept it going most of the year (I have a brown thumb), and it gave me more than enough basil to make even the Pad Grapow (which needs 3 cups of basil). I really enjoyed the flavour of this basil, and even watering it releases an amazing sweet earthy scent. When I was making the two dishes for this post, I used pre-packaged fresh basil from the grocery store, and didn’t love the flavour of this basil variety as much – in the Pad Grapow it tasted almost like licorice. There are over 60 types of basil, so I think depending on your location and what basil is available, you may come out with different flavours in your renditions of these meals. However, basil offers an aromatic earthy flavour to a dish regardless of its flavouring, so check out the two featured recipes below!


Roasted Cherry Tomato Penne with Italian Sausage and Fresh Basil – from Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen: This is an easy and hearty dish that is sure to fill your tummy as well as fill your home with the amazing smell of garlic and onion roasting. I made this recipe as per the cookbook’s recipe -which also uses 4 chopped green onions added into the fresh basil in addition to what is listed in the link provided. If you are a person that likes having a sauce on their pasta, you can try stirring some soft cheese into the finished dish (I tried some whipped chive cream cheese on mine), or even topping with some shredded cheese. You can check out the full recipe via Keeping with the Times here.


Pad Grapow (Thai Basil Chicken) – from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: I love this recipe, and I’d have to say that out of everything I’ve made multiple times from this cookbook, this is my most made dish of all. This is a simple, flavourful, relatively healthy meal to make on a weeknight when you don’t really feel like putting a whole lot of effort into getting a yummy meal. I have found Thai bird chilies at Sobey’s and I’m sure they are located in plenty of other cities larger than mine. If you can’t get your hands on the Thai chilies, you can use Serrano chilies, or Jalapeños instead. If you completely blank out like I sometimes do when remembering to buy chilies, you can always use red pepper flakes – but it’s not the same! Keep in mind that the Thai chilies are strong – you can quite literally pepper steam yourself in the face if you’re not careful (not that I know that from experience…). This dish is an excellent mix of spicy-salty and a little earthy from the ton of fresh basil you throw in at the last minute to make a fragrance bomb in your kitchen. You can check out the full recipe via Eat.Drink.Frolic here.

Adding the fresh basil into the Pad Grapow

What are your favourite herbs and spices to cook with? Do you love the flavour of basil like I do, and will you try out these two tasty dishes? Let me know in the comments below, or on Facebook.

Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Cooking with Fresh Basil

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