A delicious take on traditional Italian pesto. This foraged Stinging Nettle Pesto will add some zest to your summer pasta salad. Not only will it give you lasting memories of the British summer, but it will also encourage you to explore the world around you through foraging.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love this Stinging Nettle Pesto:
- Recipe Overview
- How to pick nettle
- How to prepare stinging nettle
- FAQ’s for making Stinging Nettle Pesto
- Full Recipe:
Why you’ll love this Stinging Nettle Pesto:
- It is nutritious. Stinging Nettle Leaves are rich in a variety of nutrients including, Vitamin A, C, K, calcium, iron, protein plus many more minerals which are beneficial to your health.
- This recipe is fuss-free! After blanching the stinging nettle in a boiling pot, you throw all the ingredients into a blender, and blend for a couple of minutes and you are done!
- Versatile. This stinging nettle pesto is versatile. I personally apply it on pasta and roast vegetables. Uses for this stinging nettle pesto include application on sandwiches and use as a marinade.
- This stinging nettle pesto’s recipe is not rigid. You can play the ingredients to formulate a pesto that is suited to your palate or your pantry!
Flavour profile: This stinging nettle pesto is perfectly balanced. It has the vibrant and herbaceous flavour of basil. With a creamy texture from the Parmigiano Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil. It’s taste is well balanced by the rich and earthy tones of pine nuts. This stinging nettle pesto is super scrumptious and makes for a memorable taste.
Difficulty: Easy Peasy! This recipe can be made by anyone in any part of the world. It’s composed of two main steps, blanching and blending. Blanche the stinging nettle leaves in a large boiling pot. After patting them dry to remove excess water and place all the ingredients in a blender. Pulse all the ingredients until you reach a smooth consistency.
Time: From blanching to serving, this recipe takes less than 10 minutes.
How to pick nettle
Picking stinging nettle is super easy. Here are quick some tips on how to pick stinging nettle safely:
- Dress for the occasion. Wear a long sleeved top that you can tuck into some tough rubber gloves. This way your skin will not come into contact with the stinging nettle.
- Use a scissors to cut the stinging nettle and transport it home in a secure food container.
- Pick young leaves. The best time to harvest nettle is when its leaves are young and tender. Young leaves have a superior flavour to older leaves as older leaves tend to be more bitter. Older leaves tend to be darker in colour and larger. While younger leaves are lighter in colour and smaller.
- Always use stinging nettle leaves on the same day you pick them. Why? Stinging nettle leaves are notorious for drying up quickly. The fresher, the better.
How to prepare stinging nettle
To prepare stinging nettle for eating, the first step is usually to remove the sting. To do this you:
- Take a large boiling pot. Pour some boiled salted water into it.
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the stinging nettle leaves and blanche for 1 minute. Try not to blanche for too long as the stinging nettle leaves will wilt too much.
- Using tongs, lay the blanched stinging nettles over a plate covered with paper towels. Pat dry to remove excess water. They are now ready for use.
- Stinging Nettle Leaves – Use freshly picked stinging nettle leaves that are young.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – use an olive oil which has a mild flavour and is also of a good quality. Stronger flavoured olive oils can overpower this recipe.
- Pine Nuts – best bought in small quantities.
- Garlic Cloves – Use fresh garlic, free from any brown spots.
- Parmigiano Reggiano – you can substitute this with good old parmesan cheese or soy parmesan.
- Basil Leaves – Use fresh leaves, not dry.
- Sea Salt – This will enhance the flavour of the pesto. Use sparingly as too much will make the pesto too bitter.
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper – Make it a bit coarse. Avoid using powdered black pepper.
- Boiling Pot
- Kitchen Tongs
- Food Processor or Blender
- Silicone spatula
Once the stinging nettle leaves are blanched, using a blender or food processor, place all the ingredients in the blender. Pulse a few times until the desired consistency and texture is reached. Adjust the amount of sea salt and freshly black ground pepper to taste.
FAQ’s for making Stinging Nettle Pesto
How long does this stinging nettle pesto keep for? This stinging nettle pesto will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Make sure you keep it in an airtight container, and keep it cool.
Is this Stinging Nettle Pesto vegan? No. By omitting the Parmigiano Reggiano it can be vegan and substituting with cashew parmesan. Always read your labels to make sure your ingredients are vegan-friendly!
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