Wearing long sleeves and gloves, collect about 4 gallons of loose nettle leaves; the amount is up to you, but it cooks down like spinach, so you need this much to cook down to approximately 2 cups--and it's good for you!). There is no need to go all scientific with this recipe; simply adjust the amounts of your pesto to suit your taste, and feel free to experiment with the addition of black pepper, red pepper flakes, parsley, etc.
The following proportions made about 4 cups of a bright, flavorful pesto with a garlicy punch.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and use tongs to slip the leaves into the water without touching bare skin. Push down to immerse, blanch for 4 minutes, drain, cool, then squeeze as much moisture out as possible.
toast 1 cup of pine nuts until golden brown
add 1/2 cup peeled fresh garlic and 1 tsp salt
pulse in food processer until just chopped
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
puree until thoroughly combined.
1 cup of toasted pine nuts and 1/2 cup of peeled fresh garlic and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. I pulsed this mixture gently until just chopped. Then I added in the cooked nettles, 1 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and pureed until the mixture was thoroughly combined.
For a simple dinner for two people you will need about 4 cups cooked penne, about 2/3 cup nettle pesto, a little pasta water and grated parmesan cheese. Cook the pasta until aldente, drain and save about a cup of pasta water. Add the pesto and the penne back into the hot pasta pot, and stir in enough pasta water to make it creamy. Toss with parmesan cheese.
Whatever nettle pesto is not consumed in a next day or so may be frozen in ice cube trays for future pastas, soups and whatever else the imagination dreams up....who knew getting your vitamins could be wild, dangerous, fun and tasty, all at the same time?