Pound out my Pesto? You betcha, here’s how …

Italian food is all about ingredients and it’s not fussy and it’s not fancy. Wolfgang Puck

It started with a seed …

Doesn’t all life? There are, of course, other hugely enjoyable ways to seed life, and if you’re looking for sexy stuff, you’ve come to the wrong post. I can’t deny this is somewhat saucy and tasty too.

Seeds of Basil went in a pot a few months back and, suddenly, there’s a crop on my hands and the Basil needed pruning.

pound out your pestoBump and grind

I’ve got aches in places I didn’t know I had places. One, two, three: awww … poor wee soul …

The perspiration took an hour to subside once I’d finished. The cause? I manually pounded and ground out my Pesto. You’ll have to decide your own way forward. Not all methods mean hard labour.

My mortar and pestle, in the picture, are sizeable and granite-heavy. The pestle weighs nearly 2 lbs (1 kg) and the mortar 11 lbs (5 kg).

Pestopinions

Thinking of making fabulous Pesto: some say you only need a food-processor, others swear by  a mortar and pestle. I opted for the latter.

Food Processor PROS

fast
really smooth sauce
smooth colour
uniform taste

Mortar and pestle PROS

artisan
coarse texture
rustic and interesting
interesting, varied, taste

 

 

pound out your pesto ingredientsThe makings and the tools

I decided not to weigh out everything, rather to: work it, taste it, add more stuff as the spirit moved and, when exhaustion set in, seek comments and fine-tune.

The picture gives and idea of the ingredient proportions. While working I roughly doubled the nut content. No, I didn’t roast the pine nuts—aiming for a sweeter flavour. I didn’t over salt or pepper.

As for the oil, I added it in splashes aiming for consistency and happy to have a settling of the makings when finished. The only action required for use … stir and serve.

the Makings

  • fresh Basil leaves
  • pine nuts
  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • garlic
  • salt
  • pepper

the Tools

  • clean hands and elbow grease
  • clean mortar and pestle (or food processor)
  • cheese grater
  • clean glass jar and lid
  • patience
  • assorted spoons and scrapers

 

 

result pound your pestoResult?

It worked. If I did it again I’d add more Basil. I have a few other tweaks in mind like mixing the Basil with our fantastic wild Rocket. Then, what about a squeeze of lemon juice?

We had some family around later and served steamed salmon flakes on fusilli coated with Mac’s pesto. Thumbs up, clean plates and … lessons have ben learned.

Enjoy …

© Mac Logan