Thursday, January 26, 2012

handmade (literally) pesto

Josh and I have very distinct "kitchen beliefs." He is a tried and true recipe follower. If you tell him to whip those eggs 37.25 times, you better believe he'll do it. I am more of a "go with the flow" kind of gal. Those eggs totally looked whipped enough after 20 times.

This is actually pretty ironic since I'm fairly type A about most other things in life and Josh is always the relaxed, "it's all gonna work out" type of guy.

Because of my recent work schedule, Josh has gotten a ton of alone time in the kitchen to divulge himself in as much recipe making as possible (without me whining about the millions of steps). He took advantage and made something that's been on his cooking bucket list for quite some time - handmade pesto.

The pesto is made with a mortar and pestle (there's no food processors here!). The food processor simply chops the basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, etc into tiny bits and mixes it with the olive oil. Whereas, the mortar and pestle presses out all of the basil's bright essential oils, the butteriness of the pine nuts, the spice of the garlic, and the salted creaminess of the parmesan.

It's a labor of love but - it pains me to say this - it is SO much better than the pestos made with a machine.

Use your pesto on homemade gnocchi.

Or spread it on some bread and top it with a fried egg.

Handmade Pesto
recipe from David Lebovitz

2 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
5 cups loosely-packed basil
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Smash the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle until smooth. Coarsely chop the basil leaves, then add them to the mortar and pound them into the garlic as you add them. Once well mashed (they've become a fairly-smooth paste), pound in the olive oil, adding it a spoonful at a time, until well-incorporated. Lastly, pound in the cheese and the pine nuts.


  1. Are you guys taking orders for this??? You can deliver me some asap!!!


  2. this first paragraph made me laugh out loud. maybe its an all boy thing to follow the rules EXACTLY in the kitchen?

    last week i asked my boyfriend (a NON CHEF) to wash the mushrooms. i looked over and he was carefully rinsing each individual mushroom one by one. so literal :)

  3. I am so impressed, you are so talented! I love pesto, but I don't know if I could ever hand make it all :) This all looks so delicious!