Quick Bites from Pender

Nettle Pesto Pizza

In Recipes on February 23, 2010 at 5:02 am

nettle-pesto-pizzaDid I mention that February is Nettle Month here on IV?  I’m happier than a pig in sh** — for real.  What?  You should see all of the deer pellets near my nettle patch…Just so you know,  I’m not delusional about the taste value of nettles.  They’re good — I LOVE them — but they can be bitter — which has led to a nettle backlash.  People are bitter about the bitterness of nettles.

I’ve seen numerous ranting blog posts (again) bitter at spending $15 on a bag of Farmer’s Market nettles only to be disappointed with the final dish.  Go easy when doling out the nettles in your menu, people.


I added a package of grocery store basil to my nettle pesto to make it light and fresh tasting — a precursor of the Spring season to come.

Not fully local and seasonal, but trust me — straight nettle pesto is not palatable unless you’re SurvivorMan and you’re 4 days in with nothing to eat.

Stinging Nettle Pesto

Yield:  approx Cup

Stinging Nettles, young tips only, trimmed of stems 2 C, lightly packed 50 ml
Basil Leaves ½ C, lightly packed 125 ml
Garlic, thinly sliced 1 clove
Pine Nuts 2 T 30 ml
Olive Oil ¼ C 125 ml
Parmigiano Reggiano ¼ C 125 ml

C=cup       ml=millilitres     T=tablespoon       TT=to taste

Place the nettles, basil, garlic and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor.  With the motor running, pour the olive oil through the food chute in a slow steady stream.  Stop the processor and scrape the mixture into a bowl.  Fold in the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.


As for the pizza, I have yet to decide on my ultimate crust recipe.  Everything I try sort of falls flat.  I suspect the majority of the problem lies with our oven.  I gotta get me a couple of fire bricks next time I’m in town.  (Ask Howard how many times I’ve said that without following through. — It’s getting tired — and to the point where I may very well find myself with a couple of firebricks in the back of the car on my next trip back from town.)


This crust is from the Bread Baker’s Apprentice.  I’m going to have to owe you the recipe for that, and for the tomato sauce I used, which was a quick simmer sauce taught to us at culinary school.

I added some Pepper Boursin, Red Barn Bacon ends (we’re obsessed), s.d tomatoes, mozza and large, beautiful dollops of my foraged stinging nettle pesto.


  1. I guess I’ve never had nettle! I did some google search and saw what they look like. They look kind of similar to Japanese basil, called “shiso” but I bet they taste very different. Your pizza looks delicious!

  2. What does s.d tomatoes mean?

    • Trysh,
      Thank you for reminding me to exclude my exclusionary language! Apparently some of it still slips through the cracks — s.d. stands for sun-dried.

  3. I’ve made wonderful stinging nettle pesto without the help of basil. Just add pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Delicious!

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