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Pasta with Nettles
Italy
   
Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
2 main  
***
1 hr  
Most
Nettles are popular in Italy, both as an ingredient in pasta (coloring it green) and as an ingredient in pasta sauces. This recipe can serve two generously as a light main course, three if there's much else, or four as a pasta course.




7
1
1
1
1
1/4
1/4
1/3
1/4
1/3
1/4
10
oz

T
T
T
c
c
c
c
t
t
oz
Nettles (1)  
Lemon
Mint, fresh
Parsley
Chives
Ricotta Cheese
Olive Oil ExtV
Sorrel (2)
Walnuts
Salt
Pepper
Pasta (3)
Prep   -   (40 min)
  1. Float wash NETTLES like you would spinach. Wearing rubber gloves if your skin is tender, discard tough stems (those turning dark).
  2. Bring plenty of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in Nettles and simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Grate LEMON for zest (yellow only). Squeeze for juice. Keep separate.
  4. Chop together very fine: Nettles, MINT, PARSLEY, CHIVES and Lemon Zest (See Note-4).
  5. Chop in Ricotta until evenly distributed.
  6. Whip in Olive Oil until smooth, then stir in Lemon Juice.
  7. Cut or tear Sorrel into narrow strips.
  8. Break Walnuts into medium size pieces and (optionally) toast them lightly in a dry pan.
Run   -   (20 min)
  1. Place Nettle mix In a sauté pan or saucepan and hold until needed.
  2. Cook Pasta in plenty of salted water the usual way. When just done, drain (but not too dry) and return to the pan. If you need to hold it at all, mix with a few drops of Olive Oil to keep it from sticking together.
  3. When Pasta is nearly done, turn up heat under the sauce. Cook stirring until hot, but do not boil. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.
  4. Stir Sorrel and Walnuts into Pasta.
  5. With tongs, load Pasta onto individual plates (preferably warm ones). Ladle sauce over. Serve immediately. See Note-5 for variations.
NOTES:
  1. Nettles:   These should be tender tops of young nettles. If you live in a region with humidity and streams you may be able to cut them yourself (wear gloves - they sting). Here in Southern California they can sometimes be obtained from herb growers at local Farmer's Markets. Incidentally, they are much more likely to sting when you brush against them lightly than when you handle them firmly. For details see our Nettles page.
  2. Sorrel:   These leaves look like Spinach and taste exactly like the clover shaped Wood Sorrel that probably infests your garden. You can use that if you have enough of it. If you have neither, spinach leaves can be substituted.
  3. Pasta:   I prefer Linguini, but any stringy pasta can be used, or non-stringy if you prefer.
  4. Method:   I do this all on the cutting board (except the Olive Oil part), first chopping the herbs together fine, then chopping in the Ricotta, but you can use a food processor. The results will have less texture but it will be faster (a bit less faster if you count getting the processor out, cleaning it after use and putting it away). If you do use a processor, slowly pour in the Olive Oil to blend while it is running.
  5. Serving:   Alternatively, you can stir sauce, walnuts and sorrel into the pot of pasta and serve it pre-sauced. If you sprinkle the sorrel over servings as a garnish it will stay greener.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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