Fresh tomatoes and fresh basil are another of summer's fleeting treats. But Paula Wolfert, a cookbook author specializing in Mediterranean cuisine, recommends an effective way to preserve the bounty.
For basil, rinse 3 cups of leaves well and place into a food processor or blender with 2 cups of cold water. Process until finely chopped. Transfer to ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen solid, transfer cubes to plastic storage bags and keep frozen until ready to use. One cube is equal to 2 tablespoons fresh basil.
FRESH TOMATO SOUP WITH BASIL
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 fresh basil leaves
3 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices whole-grain bread, lightly toasted
Combine tomatoes, garlic, parsley and basil in saucepan. Cook until garlic is tender, then remove and discard all but 1 clove garlic. Puree tomato mixture in blender or food processor.
Return puree to saucepan. Add stock, olive oil and bread. Simmer slowly until soup has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot or chilled. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
FETTUCCINE WITH BASIL
1/3 cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
20 walnuts halves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces fettuccine
Make paste of cheese, basil and walnuts in blender or food processor. With motor running, slowly add olive oil in steady stream.
Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain and toss with basil sauce. Makes 4 servings.