Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Sipping & Cinnamon Basil Pesto

Summer is here with a recipe from the patio and Yellowtail Reserve Pinot Grigio.

First, I'll let you in on the wine. The kind people at Yellowtail sent me two bottles of their reserve to sample. I've been really into whites lately, so I opened the Pinot Grigio first (last Sunday) to drink with some grilled chicken and vegetables we made.

The Yellowtail Pinot Grigio is a 2008, 100% pinot grigio, 100% stainless steel. 11.5% alc. And the bottle is very attractive. I like the label with something I am going to call "wine cleavage" showing through. Look at the label in the picture above and you might see what I mean.

For more information on this wine, go to

Now, about the recipe! I made pesto with cinnamon basil instead of traditional basil. Cinnamon basil is wonderfully fragrant and a little more spicy on the nose.

It makes a really bright colored pesto, when the leaves are first crushed. In the pesto I made I used almonds instead of pine nuts. We have three basil plants and I have them on harvest rotation. Week one, I pull from one plant, week two from the second plant and so on, so each plant has three weeks to grow back so that I can have basil something every week. Here's what became of the cinnamon basil:

2 1/2 cups cinnamon basil leaves
(you will want to pack them down in the measuring cup)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup almonds
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (um, not the kind out of the green Kraft can, but just about any hard cheese will work...pecorino is commonly used as well.)

Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor until well blended.
I ended up making a salad and using the pesto as a dressing ingredient. You can add a couple teaspoons to mayo (or fat free mayo like I do).

Also, the pesto is great on fries as served at The Chef's Table (one of my favorite restaurants), as a spread on garlic bread. I also love it tossed with gnocchi. If you don't have fresh basil available on your patio, I highly recommend buying a few plants (I found mine at Trader Joe's in Roseville). It was a $10 investment that has been well worth it.


Chris and his Cinnamon Basil said...

Hello there! I've been wondering what to do with my pots and pots of cinnamon basil. I've read that it's good as tea, but I haven't really tried that yet.

Can you describe the taste a little more? How does it compare with sweet basil? Did it alter the typical pesto taste a lot?

Anonymous said...

Great recipe, thanks so much I was wondering if pesto would be any good with cinnamon basil.