One of the most vivid memories I retain from an early childhood visit with my mother to her native Tuscany, is the intense fragrance of basil while visiting a convent just outside of Lucca. Growing up, in the summertime, my mother's overflowing vegetable garden always included basil. For some reason, it took me a while to discover the wonders this readily available herb, and I've still much to learn about it. So far, I know that it's best added at the end of most recipes in order not to lose its signature flavor. While I don't use it in many recipes, it's a must when I do.