LIGHT BASIL SAUCE (Sauce Legere au Basilic)



There’s a small clay pot of basil growing by my front door.  It’s there so I can brush my hands over the leaves releasing its sweet fragrance each time I pass it by.  Out in the big vegetable garden the basil grows thick and generous topped with tiny white flowers.  I gather it by the basket full.

Basil is the taste of summer.  This recipe for light basil sauce was created by one of my favorite cook book writers, Patricia Wells.  It is a light sauce.  I use it in place of the traditional basil sauce known as pistou.  I put it on everything.  I use it as a sauce for pasta, dab it on pizza,  use it as a  gentle glaze on poached fish,  swirl it in a soup, and brush it on crusty artisan bread.

The recipe is simple.  Into your food processor put 4 plump cloves of peeled garlic, a sprinkle of fine sea salt and 4 cups loosely  packed fresh basil leaves and flowers.  Process into a paste.  With the machine running, slowly pour the oil through the tube and process again.  Taste for seasoning.  Stir again before serving.

Transfer to a small bowl and cover.  It can be stored in the refrigerator for three days or frozen for up to six months.  Bring to room temperature and stir again before serving.  This makes 2/3 cup of sauce or twelve 1 tablespoon servings.



17 thoughts on “LIGHT BASIL SAUCE (Sauce Legere au Basilic)

  1. Pure heavenly delights! I so love fresh Basil and here in the Emerald City it is difficult to grow in our alkaline soil and our blasting Summers. I shall sneak into your garden with Sir Oswald and whilst he nibbles on the lettuce, I shall roll in the Basil!

    • Sir Oswald would be asking you to boost him over the rabbit-proof-fence but don’t you dare do it T.M. This year, for the first time in three years I am harvesting bushels of beets, lavish amounts of lettuce, and killer bundles of kale. Lar, after three attempts created a rabbity proof barrier. Now Oswald, Edwin Bun and the rest of the bunny gang press their little noses against the fence and sigh big sighs of sadness. Then go back to nibbling on plain Jane grass and clover. XX V.

  2. I love basil! It brings me back in time, when I was growing up in Greece… there was no balcony, terrace, garden, pavement, window without at least one pot of basil back then and I think this is still true!

  3. This sounds simple and delicious, Virginia. I always enjoy the sense of relaxation I get when I come to your blog. As for the rabbits, they certainly are cute, especially when small, but deadly to many growing things we hold dear. Glad you could keep them away.


  4. Belocchio kindly brought me to Mrs Butterfingers. (How nice to have a chef for an alter ego.) Must try this recipe, as for the first time in my life I have something resembling a crop in the garden, and it is basil!
    Sounds great — and easy —- 🙂

    • With all the marvelous things you can do with light basil sauce it is so handy to have it stashed away in your freezer. I freeze portions in the smallest possible plastic containers I can find. It works like a charm. Virginia

  5. I have some basil that is starting to look a bit unhappy (there just doesn’t seem to be enough sunlight to make the plant thrive here) and now I have the perfect way to make it into a culinary treat. Thanks for the inspiration, Virginia. 🙂

    • Basil does so like the warmth and the sunshine. The basil I have in pots is pretty pathetic, but the basil plants in the garden are enormous. Bon Appetit Tricia. XX V.

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