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Oh, Mitchell! You always bring back such memories. I finally learned how to make pesto from Meli Solari, wife of Chef Francesco Solari, at the restaurant Ca' Peo in the village of Leivi up above Rapallo. What she taught me was not to pound the basil but instead to sort of stroke it, down with a semi circular counter-clockwise motion, as you turn the mortar after every second or third strike. What came out was so velvety it was almost gelatinous--unctuous for sure and enveloping of every strand of pasta, every thread of bean, every tiny glob of potato. It's a magnificent dish and, somewhat like a good cappuccino, seldom done right in our country. Thank you for this!

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