Nasturtium & Rocket Pesto

Did YOU know you can make pesto out of Nasturtiums?! Yeah, neither did I! REVELATION!!

(For your information you can also make capers out of the little berry things Nasturtium plants produce too - recipe to follow as soon as I've successfully made them). 

Which is all very convenient, because my Nasturtium plants have gone MAD lately, and they're everywhere and it's lovely. And I was very happy to leave them to their spreading because I know the bees like them, and they're pretty, but it's even better now that I know they're edible in so many ways!

So I decided to make nasturtium leaf and rocket pesto, to go with some artichokes and broad beans I was frying up. I picked them all today!! Because I grew them all! Which is a fact that just gets me so high. 

Pesto Ingredients

Handful of nasturtium leaves

Handful of rocket leaves

Few sprigs of parsley

1/4 cup pine nuts

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup pecorino cheese (or parmesan)

~3 tbsp Olive oil

What to do

Blanche the nasturtium leaves to get the pepperiness out of them (just pour a hot kettle of water over them, they'll go bright green and wilt).

Squeeze out the excess water from the nasturtium leaves and chuck them in a bowl with the rocket, pine nuts, chopped garlic, lemon juice, pecorino cheese and olive oil. Blitz 'em all up with one of those blitzy things. I love the blitzy things they are so clever!

Put your pesto aside to use in a mo.

I used a handful of broad beans, and about 6-8 little artichokes. 

You'll need to shell the broad beans, and to get all the hard spikey bits off the artichokes. I did this by peeling off the outer leaves until they started to get softer, then chopping diagonally from the base to the top of the artichoke, where all the toughest bits of the leaves were. I also cut the tops off. Basically just cut off anything that is really tough, and then slice the big ones in half. 

Put your artichoke pieces in a frying pan, with some garlic, butter and parsley. 

You're also going to need ~1/2 cup of white wine, but I'm sure you already had that sitting in your fridge. Didn't you, you indulgent little fun-timer. 

Fry up the artichokes until they're starting to go a nice brown. Put a splash of balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon juice in the pan too. Add a bit of salt. 

Once they're nicely browned, pour in the white wine and quickly put a lid on the pan so it gets all steamy. Turn it down low, and add a couple more teaspoons of water if the pan seems like it's drying out. 

The artichokes should take 10-15 minutes to steam in the wine. While they're steaming away, cook enough spaghetti for 2 serves, and put the broad beens into a frying pan with a little oil and salt and fry them lightly so they're heated through. 

Once the artichokes are soft and you can pierce them with a fork they're good to eat!

Put a nice big dollop of pesto on top of the spaghetti, then top with the artichokes and broad beans, a little bit of chilli and some more pecorino. You will smell like a garlic party for the next few hours, but I hope you'll consider it to be a worthy sacrifice. 

Casey Lister