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Mortar and Pestle Pesto

Sure, you can make a pretty darn good pesto with a food processor, but once you try making it with a mortar and pestle, you'll never go back. So smooth, creamy and delicious – you may just forgo the pasta and break out the spoon!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 243 kcal


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or coarse sea salt
  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons untoasted, unsalted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  • Put the garlic clove and salt into the base of your mortar, and crush it into a paste with the pestle.
  • Add the basil a little at a time, and move the pestle in a circular motion around the inner rim of the mortar to crush it.
  • Once all the basil has become a smooth paste, add the pine nuts and crush with the same circular motion.
  • Repeat with the cheese until you have a thick, bright paste.
  • With a spoon, not the pestle, stir in the olive oil.
  • Serve over your favorite pasta with crushed red pepper flakes, extra grated cheese, and perhaps even a drizzle of white truffle oil for just that little extra decadent punch.
Nutritional Info

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