Kinfolk Magazine is a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings. We recognize that there is something about a table shared by friends — not just a wedding or once-a-year holiday extravaganza — that anchors our relationships. We feel entertaining should be simple, uncomplicated, and less contrived. Kinfolk is the marriage of our appreciation for art and design and our love for spending time with family and friends.
While our focus is not on recipes, it seems natural that our explorations spill over into the details of cooking. A film like the visual recipe above asks us to slow down and enjoy each step as we cook. It’s a subtle challenge to appreciate a simple recipe as a form of art in our kitchens, and it’s an invitation to pause, taste, and savor.
At first glance, this recipe may seem somewhat intimidating, as it requires you to hand-chop ingredients, which can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. When working with only a few ingredients, it’s tempting to throw them in the blender and be done in minutes; frankly, this method requires a bit more elbow grease, but there’s something satisfying about the low-tech approach that necessitates intimate involvement with each ingredient and results in a more complex flavor. Heidi Swanson, the author of this recipe, sums up the process as such: “When you dress a pasta with a pesto that has been hand-chopped, the minuscule flecks of basil will separate from the olive oil, you get definition between ingredients, and bright flavors pop in a way they don’t when they’ve been blended into one.”
Recipe by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks
Makes about 1 cup.
3 medium cloves of garlic
1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
1 small handful of raw pine nuts
Roughly 3/4 cup of Parmesan, loosely packed and freshly grated
A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Special equipment: Large mezzaluna for chopping
Start chopping the garlic, along with about 1/3 of the basil leaves. Once this is loosely chopped, add more basil, chop some more, add the rest of the basil, and chop some more. (I scrape and chop, gather and chop.)
At this point the basil and garlic should be a very fine mince. Add about 1/2 of the pine nuts and chop.
Add the rest of the pine nuts and chop.
Add 1/2 of the Parmesan and chop.
Add the rest of the Parmesan and and chop.
In the end, you want a chop so fine that you can press all the ingredients into a basil “cake.” Transfer the pesto cake to a small bowl (not much bigger than the cake). Cover with a bit of olive oil — it doesn’t take much, just a few tablespoons.
You can set this aside or place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Just before serving, give the pesto a quick stir to incorporate some of the oil into the basil.
Film by Tiger in a Jar.