Sunday, November 7, 2010

Handmade Pesto

I don't usually go in for fancy kitchen utensils that only have one use. It seems so silly to have a special tool for zesting a lemon or poaching an egg. This is doubly important in our tiny apartment (and tinier kitchen) where things have multiple uses or they just aren't worth the space they take up.

But, when we made our wedding registry I knew that I would include one very specialized (seemingly silly) item that breaks all of the rules above. A mezzaluna. I had to have one. And considering how much Tom loves pesto, it wasn't too hard to convince him that it belonged in our kitchen.

So almost 7 months after receiving the mezzaluna I finally got around to making pesto without a food processor. And please believe me when I say it's worth the 30 minutes of chopping. In fact the 30 minutes is exactly WHY it's worth it. Because with my mezzaluna, it was basically 30 minutes of relaxing meditation. I highly recommend it. If you're stressed, or just want to not think about law school finals for a little while, it will work wonders. And in the end, you get yummy pesto. What's better than that?

Handmade Pesto from 101 Cookbooks
2 handfuls of basil leaves, washed and dried
3 cloves of garlic
1 handful of pine nuts
scant 3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons good olive oil

1. Place 1/3 of the basil and 1/2 of the garlic on the cutting board and run the mezzaluna through until chopped. Add the remaining garlic and another 1/3 of basil and repeat. Add the remaining basil and slice until a fine mince.

2. Add 1/2 of the pine nuts and slice until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the cheese and repeat. Add the remainder of the pine nuts, slice. Add the remainder of the cheese and slice until all ingredients are evenly minced.

3. Form the pesto into a basil "cake" and place in a small bowl. Cover with olive oil and stir if using immediately. Otherwise, refrigerate and stir just before using.


  1. Well whoever got you that mezzaluna must've been really thoughtful! That, or s/he was in a state wherein the thing with the funniest name won the day.

  2. Dan: obviously picking the thing with the funniest name is part of being thoughtful! :o) thank you.

  3. Hi Jil!

    I didn't realize you had started a blog...or law school:). Great job--I have saved it to my favorites. Good luck with everything!

  4. Emily & Amanda: thanks so much guys! i love reading both of your blog posts too :o)