Last weekend, Jes and I had a fabulous lunch at one of NYC’s best restaurants, Babbo. A family friend of mine is a line chef there and invited us to experience the deliciousness of one Mr. Mario Batali.
One of the dishes (and there were many), was Orecchiette with Stinging Nettle Pesto. In case you were wondering, as I had no idea what it was either, stinging nettle is an herb that actually produces a stinging sensation when touched with bare hands (which is where the name is derived from). The chefs actually use gloves when handling it in the kitchen to avoid it’s wrath. Stinging nettle has a similar flavor to spinach and is high in potassium, iron, protein, calcium and Vitamins A & C. Pretty interesting, right?
This inspired me to get creative with making other non-traditional pestos. Traditional pesto is made with basil, but you can really use any leafy green you like - spinach, kale, parsley and many different kinds of vegetables such as beets or roasted red peppers, nuts and cheese. It is so versatile. All you really need to do is follow the method for making it, then add whichever herbs/veggies you like to change the flavor.