Basil is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia. It is a tender plant and is used in cuisines worldwide. The leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. There are many varieties of basil, as well as several related species or hybrids also called basil. The type used commonly as a flavor is typically called sweet basil (or Genovese basil), as opposed to Thai basil. In general, it is added at the last moment, as cooking quickly destroys the flavor. Basil is one of the main ingredients in pesto a green Italian oil-and-herb sauce.

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