An experiment in pesto

12 August 2012

If you do a Google search for pesto, you’ll find a deep┬áschism┬áregarding how the perfect pesto should be made. On the one side is the purist crowd, which claims that real pesto must be made with the instrument after which it was named: a mortar and pestle. On the other is the modern crowd, who swear up and down that pesto made in a food processor tastes just as good and is much faster to make. Then there are a few rebels who like to make pesto with a knife, usually a mezzaluna, and those people also think that their method of making pesto is the best. For my purposes, I’m going to lump the knife crowd in with the food processor crowd — using the knife is more time consuming, but the end result should be pretty similar since the ingredients are still being cut with a sharp implement rather than smashed with a blunt one.

I have long followed the blunt crowd, making pesto by hand in a mortar and pestle. But I’ve never had pesto made with a blade before. It is not good to dismiss things out of hand without testing them just because some people on the internet say it’s bad, so I devised a small experiment to see if there would be any discernable difference between the two.

Click on the cut following the picture for more about the experiment, as well as a recipe for mortar-and-pestle pesto.

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