The intensity of the flavors in Chef John’s made-by-hand basil pesto is beyond compare. As if by some kind of magic, this gorgeous spread develops an addictive spiciness.
Use a mortar and pestle to mash and paste-like the garlic for one or two minutes.
Add a pinch of kosher salt.
Depending on the size of the leaves and the thickness of the stems, add the basil in three or four additions, crushing and pounding the leaves until they form a fairly fine paste, which could take up to eight minutes.
Pine nuts are added and pounded in.
Put a small amount of cheese in a mortar and pound it into the sauce.
Incorporate a further handful of cheese into the mixture.
Continue to incorporate cheese for about 5 minutes, adding handfuls at a time.