I have to admit when we got stinging nettles in the latest CSA box I was a little intimidated, I mean do I really want to cook with something that I need to boil to get rid of the stingers & toxins?! But part of the reason I wanted to do CSA was to try new things so we looked up a few recipes online & went with this one from Hogwash.
Really after you boil down the nettles you work with them like spinach & this recipe seemed a lot like a pasta with spinach pesto to me. What really made it for me was the lemon & the sorrel, which has such a nice lemony flavor too. Those two ingredients really gave this a fresh, bright flavor. I'd make this again but I wouldn't search out nettles & would use spinach instead.
2 oz fresh stinging nettle leaves (or spinach)
4 oz farfalle (or pasta of choice)
1/4 c olive oil
2 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 lemon zest & juice
1/2 T fresh mint, chopped
1/2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 T fresh chives, chopped
salt & pepper
1 c sorrel leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
Bring a pot of water to boil & add the nettles (use gloves to handle the nettles until cooked). Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the nettles to a colander with a slotted spoon (leaving any dirt at the bottom of the pot) & squeeze out as much water as you can.
Cook pasta according to directions.
While pasta is cooking, put the nettles in a food processor & puree. Drizzle in olive oil & process until smooth. Add ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, and herbs. Pulse to blend. Season with salt & pepper.
When the pasta is cooked set aside 1/2 c of the cooking water. Drain & return to pot. Mix the nettle mixture into the pasta. Add the sorrel & cooking water if dry.
Serve topped with pine nuts.