Spring has now really sprung, which means a number of things. The sun starts pretending to be warm and watery skies are blue(er) sometimes. The last of the snowdrops have gone back to bed for another year, and bluebells and wild garlic flowers don the woods looking fabulous with their gorgeous pungent scents.
The hedgerows are filling up with bigger, bolder, wilder greenery.
Nettles are coming up really strongly at the moment - had to tear a whole load out of the new pig pen
this morning getting ready for our piglets arriving on Sunday. Can't wait - they are always so sweet when they first arrive.
I have a good recipe for nettle risotto - for those who don't know, they don't sting once wilted down!
Make sure you only use the less mature tips and use gloves to pick them with.
Nettle and Wild Garlic Risotto
Prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 20 minutes
For two people for a main course, up to four for a starter
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil or butter
200ml risotto rice (measure in a jug)
1 onion diced
Three sticks of celery (if available)
700ml stock - can be vegetable or chicken. Heated until almost boiling.
small glass of white wine - leftover scraps or use a little lemon juice
1 small leek, sliced
small bunch of wild garlic finely chopped
Nettle tops from about 15 plants, chopped
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
small sprinkle of chilli flakes (just to add depth)
a few sprigs mint
grated or shaved pecorino or parmesan
In a good sized saucepan, gently fry the onion in the oil until it starts to soften, add the celery if using for a couple of minutes. Pour in the risotto rice and stir to coat the grains in oil. Add the sliced leek and bayleaf. Then add the white wine or lemon juice, the bay leaf, the small amount of chilli flakes and salt and pepper. Add a ladle full of hot stock, and stir. Keep adding stock a little at a time until the rice is al dente. Stir in the nettle tops, wild garlic and mint, and add more stock if necessary. Adjust seasoning, and make sure rice is cooked. Stir in a little grated parmesan and serve. Top with the rest of the cheese.