Weeding for dinner: Nettle Pasta

I had one of those nights where I didn’t feel like cooking. I didn’t feel much like eating. My refrigerator must have sympathized with my despondent feeling; when I looked inside there were only a few sad vegetables, and some moldy bread. So, I decided to scrounge up what I could from the bottom of the veggie crisper and see what I could make from it.

I felt a bit like I was on one of those cooking shows where the contestants are given a bizarre medley of ingredients and have to make a lavish multi-course meal with these items. No matter that the items might be something like thin mints, halibut, cilantro and durian. Luckily, I did not have durian expiring in my fridge. I did however, have my own assortment of oddities.

Thanks to our community garden share, I had a selection of stinging nettles, blanched and ready to be eaten. I also found some radishes and an onion. We always have some type of nut on hand, and I’m not just reflecting on our mental state. Radishes, nettles, onion and cashews. I think I could do something with that. With the timer on, I set about to make my own cooking challenge.

The result was surprisingly satisfying. Perhaps there is more to the nettle than just the sting.

Stinging Pasta

For more on my nettle adventures see my previous post, That Really Does Sting.

Stinging Nettle Pasta
Serves 2
5-6 radishes
1/2 onion, sliced
zest of 1 lemon
juice of half lemon
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. dry vermouth
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup cashews
1 bunch Stinging Nettles or other greens (spinach, dandelion greens, etc.), washed
1/2 lb. of shaped pasta
salt & pepper to taste

1. Bring salted water to a boil
2. Blanch nettles (or other greens) in boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes. This will disarm the stingers.
3. Remove nettles from boiling water and set aside briefly to cool.
4. Use same water to cook pasta.

2. Thinly slice radishes. Quarter and slice onion.
3. Heat saucepan over medium heat.
4. Add olive and vegetable oils.
5. Saute onion in heated oil.
6. When onion begins to brown, add radishes and butter and lemon zest.
7. Stir while cooking over medium to medium high heat.
8. Add cashews and stir.
9. Meanwhile, squeeze excess liquid from nettles and roughly chop.
10. Add lemon juice to pan, stir to combine.
10. Add nettles to saucepan. Keep stirring!
11. Add vermouth to pan.

Saute ingredients

12. Add 1/2-1 cup of pasta water, if additional liquid is needed.
13. Cook until ingredients are melded. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
14. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and parsley.