A while back I read somewhere that the best pestos are stone-ground. Now, I've only had pestos made with a food processor, so I decided to take the advice and give it a go. Turns out, it does make a bit of a difference - the flavors infuse into each other more, and the basil flavor is stronger because you've mashed the hell out of it and the juices have released.
A special thanks to my sister, who gave me this mortar and pestle for Christmas a few years back, and now it's become one of the most used items in my kitchen.
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
In the mortar and pestle, grind the garlic with the salt until it becomes a foamy paste; add the pinenuts and grind until they become a paste. Add the basil and grind until the basil is fine, then mix in the oil, pepper and, finally, the cheese. Refrigerate for up to a week.
I served mine over pasta with warm tomatoes - it was lovely. No calorie count on this one, I don't even want to know.