¼ C Parmesan cheese, finely grated -reserving 1 T for garnish
1 T lemon zest -for garnish
Bring generously salted water to boil in a pot big enough to hold nettles and stems. Once boiling, using tongs, place the nettles in the pot (stems ok). Blanch in rapidly boiling water for 1 ½ minutes. Using tongs, remove from water and place in ice water bath, to chill rapidly. Separate leaves from bigger stems, placing all leaves and some of the smaller stems on a clean kitchen towel. Wring dry. You should have just about 1 cup of nettles.
Place them in a food processor with the pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, cheese, salt, pepper and oil. Pulse until until uniform, but not too smooth. Scrape down sides to make sure all is combined.
Boil pasta in generously salted water. Often I’ll just re-use the nettle water over again (whatever you prefer). Once pasta is cooked to al dente, remove with tongs and immediately toss with the pesto. Taste and adjust salt and lemon. Add chili flakes if you like!
Garnish with lemon zest (important), pine nuts, and grated Parmesan, serve immediately.
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