Basil  is used in cuisines worldwide and is a favorite fresh herb used in many Italian regional dishes.  The most famous growers of basil are from the Liguria, the Italian Riviera, but my family grew basil in both Sicily and Piedmont, and I grow it in New Jersey today. 

When using basil, always wash it and pat dry with paper towels; then remove the leaves from the stem. If you are in a hurry or are worried about those knife skills, you can tear the basil into pieces and add it to your dish.  Otherwise, stack several leaves together and roll into a cylinder and cut crossways into thin strips.