ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Food and Cooking»
  • Main Dish & Side Dish Recipes

Pesto by hand

Updated on August 2, 2012

Pesto by hand

5 stars from 2 ratings of Pesto by hand

Pesto by hand

At its most basic, pesto is simply basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil. I love pesto, but I've always been disappointed with the store bought kind. And to be honest, most restaurant pestos aren't that great either. Pesto is easy to make by hand, and once you've had the homemade variety, it'll be incredibly difficult to settle for anything else.

There are two keys here. The first is to actually use fresh herbs. All the herbs here can be grown on your windowsill. The second key is actually using a mortar and pestle. It's a fairly inexpensive tool, and once you get the hang of it, you'll find it has many other uses in the kitchen. Many recipes will tell you that it's cool to use a food processor. Let me be clear on this: they are lying to you. You gotta go old school on this one.

The recipe here is the one I like the best. I add a little thyme and oregano, which isn't exactly traditional, but the taste works for me. If pine nuts are out of your budget or unavailable, walnuts make a pretty good substitute.

Pesto ingredients with mortar & pestle

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: 2-4

Ingredients

  • Several handfuls of Basil
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • A small handful of Pine nuts
  • Several chunks of Parmesan cheese, Actual parmesan, not canned
  • A few sprigs of Thyme (optional)
  • A few sprigs of Oregano (optional)
  • Several cloves of Garlic
  1. Put a few cloves of garlic, the sea salt, and the pine nuts in the mortar and use the pestle to grind them into a paste. There's a tradition that you should only ground the pestle clockwise, and I tend to follow that recommendation. Toss in a few chunks of parmesan cheese and keep working.
  2. Once the mixture has achieved a consistency of thick paste, add some basil, as well as thyme and oregano if desired. It's best to add small amounts at a time.
  3. The key here is pressure and friction. If you've used the sea salt sparingly (and you should always use salt sparingly), then you can add a bit here and there, or some more pine nuts, to increase the friction.
  4. As you keep working, you can add olive oil to achieve the viscosity you desire. Me? I like it less viscous, so I add quite a bit of olive oil. At this point, you can keep working and tasting. Add any of your key ingredients as needed: pine nuts, basil, parmesan, or olive oil.
  5. At this point, all you really need is time. I like to work for a while with the mortar and pestle. There's a certain zen-like quality to it, and like I said, I like my sauce on the less viscous side. This sauce is like comedy in that comedy is tragedy plus time. Pesto is just like that, but instead of tragedy and time, it's more like herbs, nuts, cheese, and pressure.
  6. After you have the sauce made, set it aside and cook your pasta. I like a penne with this, but nearly anything works. After you've cooked the pasta, reserve a bit of the water and drain the pasta. Mix the pasta and pesto together, using some of the reserved water if you'd like to change the consistency of the sauce.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jhkayejr profile image
      Author

      jhkayejr 6 years ago from Florida

      Thanks to the both of you. There's a certain "slow cooking" element to the whole thing, even though it's a fairly quick thing to make. It's really cool to be a part of the entire process.

    • profile image

      avantitexan 6 years ago

      Sounds like a wonderful experience of cooking (not just making a recipe, but being a part of the process), love the old school. Thanks for sharing, and I will be trying this one!

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 6 years ago

      VOTED UP AND EVERYTHING ELSE. The recipe you have provided is so easy! Now I need to go shopping for a nice mortar and pestle to show off in my kitchen (and put to use!). I already have the basil growing, so I'm more than ready. Thanks!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)