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Nettle Pesto with Irish rapeseed oil

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 5:10 pm    Post subject: Nettle Pesto with Irish rapeseed oil Reply with quote

Simple, delicious, mainly free and very versitile, good for a quick pasta meal or on bread. Good with fish and chicken also.
Traditionally olive oil is used, but I tried some donegal rapeseed oil and it worked great!! Surprised

100g fresh nettle leaves, washed in cold water - dont forget to retain the nettle stems for the garden.
2 garlic cloves, core removed, finely chopped, or wild garlic if you have it.
(Please be careful not to confues wild garlic with Lilly of the valley)
50g (about 2 tablespoons) pine nuts, lightly toasted.
You can also use cashew, walnut or if you are lucky enough to grow them try hazelnuts.
60g grated hard cheese like Parmesan or even the heel off a good mature cheddar
150ml Donegal rapeseed oil (or substitute good quality extra virgin olive oil)
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Remember to wear kitchen gloves.
Blanch the nettle leaves in well salted boiling water for a minute or two, this removes the sting and the salt helps retain the colour.
Then plunge into iced water, again to retain texture and colour.

Drain and roughly chop, (you can keep the water as stock or for boiling pasta to go with this meal) remove as many stems as possible.
Once they are cool, put them in a colander to strain.

Next get a tea towel, and put the nettles in it. Wrap one end of the towel one way, then the other end of the towel the other and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.

Purists say pesto is best made with a mortar and pestle, after all the name comes from pestle, which means to pound. I just use a food processor.

First crush the pine nuts lightly with a knife
Core and roughly chop the garlic.
Add the salt, pepper, cheese and the nettles and commence blitzing.

Start adding olive oil.
How much you add depends on how you are using your pesto. If you are making a spread as I do then about 100ml. If you plan on using it for pasta sauce, then you will need more.

Either way, you add it in to the blender at a slow steady pour to incorporate it.
I used 100ml in the blender and retained 50ml to cover it in the jar at the end.
I tend to go for a dryer pesto - I figure if I use it in pasta, minestrone or gnocchi, I can just add a little oil in a bowl and thin it out a bit more.

More pics, tips and comments as always at the blog, link in sig

My Garden blog
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