Farm Pesto Handmade with a Mortar and Pestle Recipe

August 24, 2021

Farm Pesto Handmade with a Mortar and Pestle

Serves 4


6 cups basil leaves, picked

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

Coarse salt

1/4 cup pine nuts, freshly toasted

1/3 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup olive oil


1 pound pasta 


Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill a small mixing bowl with ice water. Quickly blanch the basil leaves in the boiling water for about 5 seconds, and shock them in the ice water to cool and stop the cooking. Strain out the basil, and squeeze the leaves to release the clinging water. Finely chop the basil and set aside. 

Put the garlic cloves in a mortar with a pinch of salt and pound until you have a paste. Add the pine nuts and pound to a paste again. In batches, add the blanched and chopped basil, only adding more basil once the previous batch is getting pasty. Be patient, this will take time but is very important for the texture of the pesto. Once all the basil is added, add the cheese. Slowly incorporate the olive oil. Taste the pesto for seasoning. It will likely need another pinch or two of salt. 

Cook the pasta in salty, salty water. Transfer the pesto to a mixing bowl. Once the pasta is fully cooked, add it to the mixing bowl along with 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Toss the pasta and sauce together in the bowl until the noodles are glossy. Add more pasta water as needed. 

Top with freshly grated Parmesan, basil leaves and a drizzle of fresh olive oil.