Hi friends, it’s Nelson at the keyboard. I wanted to share a story of how this post came to be.
I recently took a Friday off work so I wasn’t there when a friend passed by my desk to drop off a gift. We don’t do holiday gift exchanges with each-other, but I guess we’ve chatted so much about the food blog that he was inspired to contribute to our arsenal of culinary gadgets. He’s mentioned on a few occasions that he visits our blog. That makes me so happy because we’ve hopefully inspired him to get in the kitchen to try some new recipes.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the mortal and pestle on my desk! I already have a small mortal and pestle which is perfect for making rubs, but it’s too small for most other recipes I want to try. This was such a thoughtful gift!
I immediately started thinking about potential recipes to work on. I’m not sure why, but pesto was the first food to come to mind. A good basil pesto is perfect for pizza, pasta or even as a dip with a nice crusty bread.
The beauty of a pesto made with a mortar and pestle is that the pulverizing and grinding action extracts more of the flavours from the basil leaves and pine nuts than you get from running these ingredients though a food processor (although that’s still a great option in the absence of a mortar and pestle).
The one downfall of making this recipe with the mortar and pestle is the extra amount of muscle work (literally). You really have to put in some elbow grease to get a smoother consistency. Whereas with a food processor, you pulse it a few times and it’s done. I do find that the extra work is worthwhile. The result was fantastic and it was the perfect way to flavour our pesto chicken pasta with sun-dried tomatoes (coming to you next).
Here’s to prefect gifts, thoughtful friends and eating well!
- 2 cloves garlic whole
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Place the garlic, salt and pepper in a large mortal.
- Pound the garlic until it looks ground and no large pieces are left.
- Add the basil and pine nuts, and continue to pound and grind the mixture, this time pressing and rotating the pestle until a thick paste is formed.
- Add the olive oil and cheese to the mixture.
- Keep pressing, rotating and Stiring with the pestle until the mixture is fairly smooth.
- Use this instead of tomato sauce with your favourite pasta or on pizza.
Some recipes call for more oil, this amount was perfect for us.