Remove any fibrous ribs from basil leaves. Remove spinach rib. Wipe herbs
clean with a dry tea towel. If herbs and spinach are not organic, wipe them
with a barely dampened towel. Place sea salt in a large mortar. Add a few
leaves, torn into fragments, and 1 clove of the garlic. Start grinding with
the pestle, using a circular motion, until everything is reduced to a fine
texture. Add a few leaves, and grind and gently pound until leaves and
garlic are reduced. Continue in this way, adding the remaining garlic clove
at roughly the midpoint, until all leaves are ground to a fine textured
As you work, keep scraping the pesto down into the bottom of the bowl to
form a mound. With the pestle, gradually stir in the cheeses.
You will have a very dense mixture. Scrape pesto off the pestle and down
from the sides of the bowl into the bottom of the mortar. Pour olive oil
into a small pitcher or measuring cup. Add olive oil in a fine stream,
stirring it in with the pestle in a circular motion. Add more oil only as
the stream of oil becomes fully incorporated into the pesto. One-half cup
oil makes a very "loose" pesto. You may want to use less oil for a thicker
pesto. Taste and add salt as needed. Put a plate over the mortar to seal
off air. Place mortar in the center of the dining table. Meanwhile, cook
spaghetti in abundant salted boiling water until al dente. Add 1 or 2
tablespoons pasta water to the pesto, whisking it in with a fork. Use tongs
to lift pasta, dripping wet, into individual pasta bowls. Quickly spoon a
little pesto over each bowl and let each person immediately mix it into
their pasta (if any time elapses the pasta will start to stick together).
Place a spoon in the mortar so diners can help themselves to more pesto
according to taste. Serve with grated cheese at the table. Serves 4 to 6.
Recipe from "Unplugged Kitchen" by Viana La Place (Morrow).
Notes: Spinach, parsley and marjoram: if you don't have all three, include
at least one and increase the amount.
Recipe by: "Unplugged Kitchen" by Viana La Place (Morrow).
Posted to KitMailbox Digest by Pat Hanneman on Sep
23, 1998, converted by MM_Buster v2.0l.