Food and wine

My Mortar and Pestle to Make Pesto Sauce

By October 5, 2011 11 Comments

Many people use a food processor to prepare pesto sauce. Unfortunately, I have to reveal that when I don’t have many time, I’m one of that persons.

Anyway, when I invite friends to have dinner and I want to prepare a traditional pesto sauce, I love to use the traditional mortar and pestle.

Preparing the traditional Genoese pesto sauce with mortar and pestle is not so difficult. To be sure to choose the right mortar and pestle you should just know few things.

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The mortar has to be made in marble (in Italy is preferred the marmo di Colonnata, marble of Colonnata). Colonnata is a tiny village just above Carrara in Tuscany (famous for the white or blue-grey marble quarried). Colonnata is a town of 300 inhabitants perched on a rocky spur of marble tucked between the quarries.

Today this town is famous for its “lardo”, a true delicacy of cured pork fat, but once it was the principle source of stone-cutters and miners who have worked to extract marble for hundreds of years.

The Pestle has to be preferably a softwood pestle, such as apple wood, elm wood, etc.. It is not recommended to use a pestle made with olive wood because it is heavier.

Using mortar and pestle produces a pesto sauce that has a more interesting texture than a food processor. I recommend you to try it. The differences are evident.

Furthermore, I love to use my mortar and pestle for everything, such as crushing taggiasche olives for olive pate, crushing spices or nuts for sweet dishes and more!

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