I first discovered my enjoyment for cooking as a student, when I was living independently for the first time. I found it a really good way to relax after a busy day and also found that I enjoyed cooking for other people. Before too long, and like many of my friends, I dreamed of having my own spice rack, filled with different spices and dried herbs to enable me to add a mix of flavours to my cooking. I am now slowly building that collection and was really pleased when Schwartz asked me to review one of their dried herbs – basil.
I love fresh basil but I’ll admit that I rarely cook with fresh herbs as I’m not very good at looking after the plants. Therefore I tend to rely on dried herbs, and have a tendency to just throw some mixed herbs into whatever I’m cooking rather than something specific like basil. However, I think that’s likely to change now as I work harder to improve my use of different flavours.
With the pot of Schwartz dried basil that I was sent I decided to keep things simple and make a rich tomato based sauce to go with meatballs and tagliatelle. Simple but tasty – what I try to aim for when I’m cooking! You can find the recipe below:
- One onion (chopped)
- Two cloves of garlic (chopped)
- Two vine tomatoes (chopped)
- One red pepper (chopped)
- Two tins of chopped tomatoes
- Dried basil
- Packet of meatballs
- Tagliatelle (or other pasta if you prefer)
- Grated cheese (to top)
- Pop the meatballs in the oven and cook for the recommended amount of time, following the cooking instructions on the packet.
- Gently fry the onion in a frying pan until softened. Once softened, add the garlic, fresh tomatoes and pepper and continue to fry.
- Once all the fresh ingredients is softened, add the chopped tomatoes and a sprinkling of dried basil (to taste) and allow to simmer.
- Cook your pasta following the instructions on the packet.
- Once the meatballs have cooked, add them to the simmering sauce for 5 minutes to add flavour. Taste the sauce and if needed add more basil.
- Drain the pasta and serve with the sauce and meatballs on top. Sprinkle grated cheese on the top to serve.
Depending on how large a pack of meatballs you have used this should serve four hungry mouths. As there were only two of us eating we’ll eat the leftovers on the following day.
When I cook a tomato based sauce I usually add some mixed herbs, but can find that the herbs overpower everything else. I don’t mind this so much but it’s not for everyone. However, adding a small amount of basil instead added a different taste to the dish, but rather than overpowering the tomato it added an extra depth to the sauce instead. I’ll definitely use it again for similar dishes (although I think oregano remains my favourite dried herb). Other meals I’m already planning to try with my Schwartz basil include; lemon and basil chicken, risotto, lasagne and the bruschetta recommendation which came on the packet!
Which herbs do you enjoy cooking with?
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I was sent the product to review. However, all opinions are my own as always.