Needless to say, after bumbling though the bountiful blackberry briar bushes, I came back shroom-less. BUT... Yes, that is a big "But". My forager's instincts had been awakened only to be unleashed upon the forest floor. So instead of shoving shrooms in my satchel, I nimbly nabbed numerous nettles, neatly nestling them in my knapsack.
I figured since Morel Risotto was out of the question, I would at least leave with one of my favorite foraged ingredients and make a Nettle Pesto, with which I would lavishly smother my Linguine. I chose Walnuts for this because pine nuts would not be "strong" enough to stand up the the flavor of the nettles. It was the same with the cheese. When I make Pesto, I use a mixture of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano, but nettles are more intense than basil, so the more pungent cheese is the choice. Grab that Pecorino Romano baby. Although I think Asiago might work just as well.....
I have dealt with handling Nettles in preparation for Ravioli di Ortica alla Pusteresi, as well as posting about Pesto Genoese, way,Way, WAY back; shortly after I started this blog. The process, by which I make pesto, is by hand, with a mezzaluna; but by all means, if you prefer the food processor then go for it. It's simply a personal preference. I like a more rustic multi-textured pesto, and this can only be achieved with a mezzaluna. A food processor will create a nice uniformly chopped pesto.
Pesto Suolo Forestale
6 oz (160 g) Nettle tops
4 cloves Garlic (I used 5 cause 2 were very small)
2.2 oz (65 g) Walnuts
1.5 oz (45 g) Pecorino Romano
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
8 oz (235 ml) Extra Virgin Olive oil
Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Meanwhile wash the Nettles (don't touch them)
Move nettles (with gloves) to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute.
Drain and spray with cold water to stop the cooking.
Squeeze the water out (Just like spinach)
Place about 1/2 the nettles and the garlic on a cutting board with a pinch of salt and begin chopping them with a mezzaluna.
Add 1/2 the walnuts and chop some more.
Add 1/2 the remaining nettles and 1/2 the cheese; then Chop Chop a whole lot more.
Add the remaining Walnuts and Nettles then Chop Chop Choppity Chop.
Then finally, add the last of the cheese and... yep, you guesses it... chop away.
Mash it together so it can me moved to a dish.... I always make it a square cause I use a square container.
Sprinkle with the juice of 1/2 a Lemon.
Then pour Extra Virgin Olive oil over it
and smash with a fork to work the oil into the mixture.
Tada! Pesto from the Forest Floor...
Now anoint some linguine with the Nettle-y goodness and sprinkle with a little more Pecorino Romano...