Monday, November 16, 2009

Old Fashioned Pesto with Walnuts

I've been craving pesto, but stumped by my lack of food processor-blender gadget. So, yesterday I looked into the traditional mortar and pestle methods...then fashioned a mortar and pestle from the end of a wide-handled fork and ceramic bowl, and went to town. Ghetto? Desperate? Tasty!

Here's how it went down:


  • 2 cups loosely packed basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, plus crushed pine nuts for garnish
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt


  1. Combine basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, and salt in your mort ar.
  2. Grind with pestle in a pounding and/or rotating motion until a paste is formed, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add cheese; grind until combined.
  4. Briskly stir pesto with a wooden spoon while drizzling in the olive oil.
  5. Drizzle pesto with more oil until desired consistency is reached.
  6. Let rest while cooking your pasta.
  7. Stir pesto into drained pasta while still hot.
  8. Garnish with extra cheese and crushed pine nuts.

Comments: So, I'm terrible at following directions, and began grinding the basil with just salt. I believe the garlic and nuts would allow it to break down faster, and give much better results. Also, I used walnuts instead of pinenuts, as I had them on hand. I halved the recipe, because that was how much basil I had, but next time I'd try and do a full batch, this went too quickly!

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