Your New Way to Experience the Italian Riviera!

My Mortar and Pestle to Make Pesto Sauce

October 5, 2011 by Anna / Tags: , , , , , , , , , / 12 Comments

Many people use a food processor to prepare pesto sauce. Unfortunately, I have to reveal that when I don’t have many time, I’m one of that persons.

Anyway, when I invite friends to have dinner and I want to prepare a traditional pesto sauce, I love to use the traditional mortar and pestle.

Preparing the traditional Genoese pesto sauce with mortar and pestle is not so difficult. To be sure to choose the right mortar and pestle you should just know few things.

The mortar has to be made in marble (in Italy is preferred the marmo di Colonnata, marble of Colonnata). Colonnata is a tiny village just above Carrara in Tuscany (famous for the white or blue-grey marble quarried). Colonnata is a town of 300 inhabitants perched on a rocky spur of marble tucked between the quarries.

Today this town is famous for its “lardo”, a true delicacy of cured pork fat, but once it was the principle source of stone-cutters and miners who have worked to extract marble for hundreds of years.

The Pestle has to be preferably a softwood pestle, such as apple wood, elm wood, etc.. It is not recommended to use a pestle made with olive wood because it is heavier.

Using mortar and pestle produces a pesto sauce that has a more interesting texture than a food processor. I recommend you to try it. The differences are evident.

Furthermore, I love to use my mortar and pestle for everything, such as crushing taggiasche olives for olive pate, crushing spices or nuts for sweet dishes and more!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Facebook Comments


12 Responses to My Mortar and Pestle to Make Pesto Sauce

    Sheri B. November 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    My husband and I were in beautiful Lucca,Italy & Genoa,Italy two years ago. First time to Europe! We were on a tour when the tour guide told us that the only way to make a good pesto is with the white marble mortar that you use. I love to cook and at one time gave free cooking classes for our 4-H children in Sonoma, California. I am soon to retire from my job and would like to do cooking with children again. I feel teaching ways of cooking from other countries would be great for the children and maybe get them to want to visit these countries when they are older! We were on a cruise, so we were in ports only one day. I was not able to buy a mortar like this before we left…I really would like to purchase one, but I want it to be the same one that you use. Can you e-mail me where I can purchase one? Web-site, store,etc. I leave in the USA. I am so glad I came across your web-site….Want to go back to Italy..hope to be able to get to visit Liguria ! Thank You…

      Anna Merulla November 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Hello Sheri, I’ll check if the small shop where I have bought the mortar has a website or email. I’ll send you a private email. Ciao! ps. yours is a great idea to deal with children and teach them ways of cooking!

    Erin June 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    Hello, I too would like to purchase this mortar and pestle you have shown in your pictures. Ever since I saw Tyler Florence on TV go to Liguria and make ligurian pesto with Fausto at U Giancu restaurant ( have been keeping my eye open for one. This was many, many years ago, probably at least 7 years ago when I first saw this show. And the one you picture here seems to be the exact same one! Can you e-mail me as well with the information so I could purchase one, if it is available? Thank you so very much!

      Anna July 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Hello Erin, contact us to our private email. Ciao!

      Joseph Scena March 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      I would like to purchase this mortar and pestle set could you please forward purchase information?

      Joseph Scena

    Linda Wraym August 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Hello Anna,

    I will be in Northern Italy in 1 month for the first time, I can hardly wait. During the second week, I will be within 40 miles from Colonnata. I am interested in finding a large white marble mortar to bring home. I love to cook, and watch the Italian cooking show Extra Virgin where they use a large mortar to make pesto when they are at the families Tuscan farmhouse.

    We will have a rental car, so can you tell me the best place to go in the Tuscan Region to find a large white marble mortar. We will be in the Siena, Florence, Como, Lucca, Piza, and Tuscany areas near Carrera, etc.

    This would be the best addition to my kitchen for making delicious pestos. Thank you for your help.


      Anna September 16, 2013 at 10:31 am

      Hi Linda, I think the best place in the Ruscan region where you can buy a mortar is in Carrara, famous for its marble. Hope this helps you and have a great holiday. Ciao!

    Anita August 28, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Could you please tell me how big your mortar is? I saw the same one online at Williams Sonoma but it is only 7 inches across and that seems too small.

    Thank you!

      Anna September 16, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Hi Anita, my mortar is 20 cm of diameter. Hope this helps. Ciao!

        Theresse January 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm

        Anna, are those 20 cm the inside of the bowl or the outside?

    Mary November 18, 2013 at 1:45 am

    I would like to purchase a mortar and pestle made in Italy. Can you give me any website addresses where I can purchase the type you described as using for your pesto sauce. Thank you.

    Available Info July 15, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Awesome post! Thanks, we want more! Added to my list of favs as well.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Recommended on Susan Van Allen Book

We are recommended by Susan Van Allen on the New Edition of "100 places in Italy Every Woman Should Go"

BBC – Two Greedy Italians in Liguria


Who would have thought that one day I would meet the two great chefs of “Two Greedy Italians”? Who would have even considered that I’ve been collaborating with the whole crew at the new television series “Two Greedy Italians” for the BBC? Here's my story

We are Contributors on Italian Notebook!


ItalianNotebook is the Free, Brief, Daily email from Italy for Italy lovers everywhere read by (tens of) thousands worldwide! Enjoy our special notes on Italian Notebook website.
Find us elsewhere: