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Spaghetti with nettle cream and squash

If you cannot find nettle, use chervil or hartwort or even dandelion!

ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 1,5 € pp)
  • Salt
  • 320 g spaghetti
  • 150 g squash flesh
  • A large bunch of nettle leaves
  • EV olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 40 g parmigiano or grana cheese
  • Black pepper

I start realizing that you have an obsession with the nettles, my friend!

– Why not? Nettles and all the other wild herbs are very cheap (practically you can even pick them up as they are abundant on every meadow), very tasty and very attractive. And above all, they fill you with a feeling of cleanness, of health, of well being. I love all the wild herbs and nettles are my preferred ones. Maybe because of my memories and the countless time that, as a child, nettles stung me during friendly football games. Actually those games weren´t friendly at all, they always finished with troubles! What a nice era!!!!

– And now you tell people to buy nettles…….

– There is absolutely no problem. Nettles can be trimmed after boiling them, when the formic acid (this is the stingy substance) will have been disactivated. You can also cut their leaves with a scissor, when raw, while you hold the stem with a glove. In any case only a few allergic people may have (not very) serious problems with the raw nettles.

Well, let´s come to today´s dish.

We first bring to boil a pot with salted water.

We cut the squash flesh in small cubes and we boil it for about 3 minutes. We remove the squash cubes and we add the nettles. We boil them for 1 to 2 minutes, we take them out and we trim them, discarding the hard and fibrous stems. We put the nettles in a jar and we make them pulp with the immersion blender.

Meanwhile in a cold skillet we add the olive oil and the garlic cloves, smashed but not peeled. We bring to heat and we gently fry the garlic till golden. We remove the solid parts of garlic, we raise the heat to medium and we lightly brown the squash cubes.

In the same boiling water we have cooked the nettles, we add the spaghetti and we boil them for 2 minutes less than the written on package al dente time. We drain them and we put them in the skillet with the garlic oil, the nettle pulp and two ladles of boiling water from the pot.

We start to mantecare the pasta, till getting a creamy green sauce. The very last moment we remove from heat, we check the salt, we add the parmigiano, very finely grated with a Microplane and we stir for some seconds more.

We add the squash pieces and some pepper and we serve.


Published in PASTA