Photo Credit: Emma Alter
I mentioned the other day that I bought myself quite a load of stinging nettles at the farmers' market. I made some delicious nettle tortellini with it, but I still had a large bag of it to cook. I was looking through nettle recipes and came across an interesting one for a pie, on a website called Voodoo and Sauce. It's not written there as a recipe with ingredient amounts, but more like walking you through the steps to making the dish.
I made some changes, the biggest being the use of ricotta cheese rather than cottage cheese. I've written down the amounts I used, but feel free to play around. If you want to make this more easily you could use a puff pastry base, or even use phyllo dough if you like. I used my regular pastry recipe and cut it in half. If you don't have any nettles, spinach or swiss chard would be good substitutions. If you do have nettles, use gloves when handling them. Once you have blanched them, you can touch them without worry. If you don't want to use pine nuts, you could substitute walnuts.
Serve this with a green salad and a nice crisp white wine. If you prefer, you could make this in advance, and serve it at room temperature.
Nettle and Ricotta Tart
1/2 recipe pastry
1 bunch nettles, washed carefully
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups low fat ricotta cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese + plus more for sprinkling on top
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp pine nuts
1. Roll out pastry and place it in a pie plate. Set this in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. In a large pot of boiling water place the nettles, using tongs. Push the nettles right down in the water and allow it to blanch for 10 or 15 seconds. Pour contents of the pot into a colander and then quickly run cold water over the nettles to stop them cooking. Set aside to allow them to continue draining.
3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have thrown off their liquid and the pan starts to dry out.
4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the ricotta, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, egg and salt and pepper until stir until well blended.
5. Squeeze any excess moisture out of the nettles. Remove any big stems and chop it roughly. Add it to the ricotta mixture. Add the onion and mushrooms to the ricotta mixture and stir well.
6. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and pour the nettle and ricotta mixture into the pie plate. Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Bake at 375F for about 45 minutes, or until the pie is set.