I hate waste in the kitchen and I love using things we all find around us everyday!
Nettle leaf also contains high levels of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and beta-carotene and high amounts of the vitamins A, C, D, and B complex. In a face to face with spinach, nettles win!
Now there does come a warning, not in the eating but in the collecting...
armed with my gloves AND having wrapped my hands in plastic bags, I still got stung, so go carefully and not on a windy day...obvs
So after collecting a shopping bag half filled with young nettles, you need to prepare them. Pull the leaves off and wash with cold water. Get a large pot on the boil. Blanch the leaves for 5 mins, then into a bowl of iced water and then drain, keep a cup of the water aside. In a processor, liquidise the nettles, adding water to loosen.
I froze this puree ready for our first pop-up lunch. When you are ready to cook, no need to even defrost, use from frozen.
400g Arborio rice
125 ml dry white wine
1.5ltr Chicken stock, warmed
200g nettle puree
extra parmesan to make the crisps
herb & garlic butter to finish
For the risotto:
Melt the butter in heavy pan, add the risotto rice and stir in for a couple minutes, you will notice the rice to change colour slightly. Add the white wine and then 1 ladle at a time add the chicken stock. I make my own but if you don't use a high quality stock. Over a medium heat stir with a wooden spoon. As the liquid gets absorbed, add another splash of stock. You will need to allow 20 minutes of stirring.
Taste the risotto, and you want the rice to be soft with a slight bite.
At this point add the nettles, your nettles should still have a bright green colour.
Stir in well and then add the parmesan. Cover and leave for a couple of minutes.
To do a parmesan crisp. Grate fresh parmesan, you need a handful per crisp. On a tray lined with greaseproof paper, grill for just a couple of minutes until the edges brown. Take out and let it cool on the tray.
Serve with a drizzle of herb garlic butter and a crisp on top!