Much Virtue in Herbs
Basil Pesto Muffins
Okay, so I stink at growing zucchini. We’ve beat that dead horse. Time to move on. When it comes to growing basil, however, my thumb is bright green. Basil is probably my favorite herb and usually the first thing I plant in the spring when the danger of frost is over. Unfortunately, basil is not very hardy. The first tinge of a frost and it shrivels up and dies. I know, I could cover it with something to protect it. But honestly, I do good just to remember to water it in the summer.
I think it’s a sacrilege to let fresh basil go to waste, so when fall approaches I always make plans to harvest what basil I have left. I freeze lots of fresh pesto and fill up as many spice jars as I can find with dried leaves. This recipe caught my eye and I knew I had to set some fresh leaves aside so I could give it a try. One note, the recipe instructs you to sprinkle pine nuts over the top of the muffins before baking. However, when I browned the tops of the muffins under the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time, the pine nuts burned and I ended up picking them all off. Next go around, I think I’ll try incorporating the pine nuts into the batter. If you like the flavor of pesto and Parmesan cheese, you will love these. They are the perfect accompaniment to a plate of pasta with red sauce.
Basil Pesto Muffins
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¾ cups fresh basil,chopped
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup pine nuts, chopped
- Kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine ¾ cup olive oil, milk, and eggs. Whisk until eggs are slightly beaten. Pour egg mixture into center of well. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
- Fold in basil, cheese, tomatoes, and garlic.
- Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray. Fill each cup ⅔ full. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the top of each muffin. Sprinkle with chopped pine nuts and salt.
- Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Preheat boiler. Position the top rack six inches from the heating element. Return muffins to the oven and broil for 2-3 minutes until the tops of the muffins are golden brown.
- Allow muffins to cool slightly while in the pan before removing to a cooling rack.