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Venetian Basil Oil

“This basil oil is based on the same principle as pesto, but it’s lighter, made without the garlic, cheese, and nuts,” Francesco says. “And it has more uses.” He adds the droplets of the brightly colored oil to garnish the top of a simple risotto and to glaze grilled fish. “I like to combine parsley and basil to give it a more intense flavor, and this is the only time I use American-style curly parsley instead of the flat-leaf kind.” Francesco also blanches the herbs very briefly to mute any bitterness. “We serve very little in the way of raw food in Venice,” he remarks. “As a matter of fact, that’s true of Italy in general, not just Venice.”

basil oil

Basil Oil

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup curley parsley
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Olive Oil
  • Salt


  • Bring a pot with 2 quarts (2 L) of water to a boil, drop in the basil and parsley and cook just 15 seconds. Drain immediately, rinse the herbs under cold water, and dry them.
  • Place the herbs in a blender or food processor. Process them to chop them, then, with the machine running, gradually add the oil.
  • Season the mixture with salt.
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