Sweet Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)
Sweet Basil herb is probably best known for its part in a lot of Italian cooking.The flavour is absolutely lovely when used as a fresh herb in salad with a good quality extra virgin olive oil.
The strong, sweet aroma with a hint of Anise gives great flavour when added towards the end of your cooking.
Sweet Basil can be bought fresh from most supermarkets and online. This is probably the best way to use this herb but it does not stay fresh for long! A great alternative is to use dried Basil which can also be used as an ingredient for some seasoning blends.
You will need to keep it in a container in the refrigerator. It should be used within 2 to 3 days.
Alternatively you can buy Sweet Basil as a dried herb in plastic or glass containers readily available online or from the supermarket. It is also available pre-packed . This should be transferred, for storageonce opened , to a glass or plastic container and stored in a cool, dry cupboard. It’s advisable not to keep them too long as their flavour will diminish with time.
Dried Basil needs to be used in a slightly different way from fresh sweet basil herb. When using fresh Basil we tend to add this at the end of cooking time. This way it retains more of its flavour. When using dried Basil we add it a bit before the end of cooking time so that it has time to release its flavours.
Sweet Basil herb is also used in the making of Pesto Sauce. Pesto is an Italian sauce that is very popular to use in cooking. I like to use it simply with pasta or added to salmon dishes. Pesto can add tasty flavours to a simple dish and you do not have to be a chef to use it!!
Listed on this page is how to make a tasty Bolognese Sauce using dried Basil as a main herb alongside dried Oregano. This is a favourite meal with all the family. Fairly easy to cook and ready in about 20 minutes. Delicious with spaghetti or other types of pasta.
Serves 4-6 people
500 grams of lean minced beef
1 x large onion - diced
200 grams fresh mushrooms chopped (straw mushrooms if available)
4 - 5 x Large cloves of garlic finely chopped or crushed
500 grams tin of chopped tomatoes
45ml of tomato puree
20ml of dried basil
15ml of dried oregano
5ml sea salt or to taste
5ml ground black pepper or to taste
60ml Extra virgin olive oil
Add the extra virgin olive oil into a large saucepan and heat to a medium temperature. Once it is hot add the diced onions and stir until they start to colour.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add mushrooms and cook for further 2 minutes.
Add the minced beef and cook until browned.
Now add tomato puree and mix into the meat until it has an even colour.
Add the tin of tomatoes. Stir and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Add salt and pepper and taste it, you can always add more if needed.
Add Basil and Oregano then stir. Simmer for 10 minutes with lid askew. Keep an eye on it. If it needs any water add it sparingly as you do not want it too wet.
Once you have plated the food add parmesan cheese to your liking.