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Nettle Pesto

Fact: I do not react to the sting of nettles.

Its one of life's great mysteries that, while I can't roll around in the plant, I only feel a mild prickliness on contact with this abundant weed. No welts. No stinging.  It means that I was particularly suited to trying out the first recipe in Claire's fantastic new feature on Free Food Friday.I whipped up some nettle soup immediately to impress my friends, family and neighbours. 


The soup was so good, the first taste left me wondering what else I could use nettles for. Our back lane is full of these stingers and I was desperate to attempt something else with the flavourful weeds before they get too woody.  A craving for pasta and pesto was the necessity that mothered my invention.

Nettle Pesto:
A big pile of nettles (probably 150g - 6.5 cups)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts
1/2 cup (60g) parmesan
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil

Blanch nettles in boiling water for about 1 minute to remove sting (remember, you want young nettles before the stalks get too wooden and stringy). Roughly chop and whack them and all the rest of the ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Serving suggestions:
- Mix into whole wheat pasta with sautéed courgette (zucchini), red onions and pecans with oregano sprinkled on top.
- Serve on home made bread (we are currently madly in love with Mixing Bowl Mama's Fresh Bread Everyday recipe.  Unbelievably good and easy!!) 



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