Fresh basil is definitely one of the signature tastes of summer, and you can be sure we'll be tasting a lot of it from now until the weather turns cold again! Want to get the most flavor and aroma from your basil? Just make it the very last thing you add to your dish.
Basil is not like a lot of other fresh herbs that do well over extended cooking. It has a lot of delicate flavor and aroma compounds that will heighten briefly and then break down if cooked too long. Add basil at the beginning of a long simmer and by the time you serve your dish, you'll only taste a shadow of what it once was.
That's why we like to add the basil only in the last minute or so of cooking. This is just enough time to activate those oils and chemical compounds so that the flavors and aromas are at their peak just as you're serving your dish. If you're making something like a lasagna or stuffed chicken breast where the basil goes into the filling, just reserve a little of the basil to sprinkle over the top before serving.
Basil is so fantastic. Give this technique a try and see if you notice the difference!