A Very Handmade Pesto

There are things in life and in the kitchen that you are convinced you actually don’t need. Like a mortar. Who really needs it? It looks pretty cool and authentic and all that… but no one needs it, really

But as I recently discovered – nothing else makes your pesto taste like an Italian pesto but the mortar.  Now I have experienced the difference in taste and flavor I can say that my food processor will just create a garlicky mash – not pesto.

OK, it takes longer to make it but you get the constant and immediate gratification while crashing away the ingredients – strong, fresh, vibrant smell of basil and garlic. This experience is worth the money and the cooking effort!

My other lesson learned from this week is that you need only a little bit of they key ingredients to make a substantial pesto portion. I also started to use a lot more Parmesan cheese to “beef” it up.

20 gr fresh basil (leaves only)
2 handfuls of pine nuts
1 clove of garlic
100 ml Olive Oil
70 gr Parmesan, grated (but feel free to adjust the amount to suit your taste)
black pepper to taste


  1. start crashing basil leaves, garlic and nuts in your mortar
  2. add 1/3 of olive oil
  3. continue to squash everything into a paste adding more oil as you go
  4. once you are satisfied with the consistency fold grated Parmesan,
  5. add pepper to taste (salt should be added to the pasta when you cook it, not to the pesto)

Once I put my pesto in a jar I added even more oil but that is up to you and your preferences. Just make sure you use olive oil with a gentle taste as it can become quite overpowering otherwise.


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