A letter to my basil plant:
Dear basil plant,
I am sorry for neglecting you for some time. I realize I forget to use you in recipes and sometimes I do not water you and I should probably put you in a real pot. But I swear I appreciate you. Even though I have to Google how to take care of you every time I come home from a long weekend and you’re looking dead, you still blossom. Don’t look brown basil plant, there’s a future for you. Thanks for being awesome.
Your Friend Megan
So today my friend Nikki came over. My apartment has A/C (the key is I don’t have to pay for it so its set in the 60’s) and her house is smoldering so I let her take a nap here while I went to a dance rehearsal. She also asked if she could take some of my basil. That’s when I realized I haven’t used any basil from my basil plant in FOREVER. And I’ve seriously neglected this plant. I go to my lake house on weekends and my plants just shrivel in the heat. And then I come back on Monday and figure out ways to revive them via Google. Sidenote: Honestly I don’t know how I would live without Google. It’d be difficult. I also found some broccoli that’s been hanging out in my refrigerator so that’s how this recipe came to be. If you want almost as much broccoli as pasta in every bite, definitely use the full 2 crowns (approx. 2 1/2 cups) of broccoli. If you want to tone down the broccoli I would recommend about 1 1/2 cups. The addition of basil really makes this meal. It makes the pasta taste so fresh. You could easily make the pasta without the basil but I really think it was the star of this meal. Nikki and I give this recipe two thumbs up (we also might be biased because we made it up).
3/4 lb pasta shells
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
12 oz. evaporated milk (plus a few splashes of regular milk to thin out the sauce if need be)
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
8 oz. shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
2 crowns of broccoli (approximately 2 1/2 to 3 cups) rinsed and cut into small pieces
salt and pepper to taste
dash of garlic powder
4 basil leaves, chopped into small pieces
In a large pot, boil water and cook pasta al dente according to directions on the box. Strain the pasta when it is done and then put it back in the pot.
In the meantime, in a large skillet, melt butter on low. Then add flour and whisk constantly until you make a rue. Don’t look away because it is very easy to burn. Add in the ground mustard, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. While still whisking, slowly add the evaporated milk. Try to keep whisking so that the sauce doesn’t get too clumpy. It’s okay if it does, you can always add a little more butter too to make it smoother. Turn up the heat a little bit and whisk until the sauce thickens. Then, add in the cheddar and mozzarella cheese and stir until incorporated. In a microwave safe bowl, add broccoli and a few tablespoons of water. Then cover the top with a microwave safe plate that is flipped over. Microwave for 60 seconds or until the broccoli is steamed. I like mine with a little crunch still but if you prefer a softer broccoli you can go a little longer than that. I had to steam my broccoli in 2 batches because my bowl was small. Drain the water from the bowl and add the broccoli to the cheese mixture. Then add the basil to the mixture. Stir until the broccoli and basil are incorporated.
Add the cheese mixture to the pasta and stir until the pasta is well coated. Serve immediately.
Serves about 4.
Source: An A Dash of Megnut original (with the help of Nikki)