I have for you today a fabulously light, healthful and frugal Nettle & Wild Garlic Risotto. And anything this green has to be amazing for you surely? And indeed it is. I even kept away from adding any dairy to make as light a risotto as one can, omitting my normal more decedent additions of creme fraiche and Parmesan. But feel free to add if you want something a little less delicately flavoured and more substantial in body.
Incidentally Nettles, in case you didn’t know, have an incredible amount of health giving properties. Not only are these stingers an excellent natural iron source (way higher than popeye spinach, take note ladies!), they’re very high in protein for a plant, fabulously cleansing for hair and skin and are used to treat a huge variety of ailments and iillnesses from arthritis, gout and rheumatism though to various immunity disorders, allergies and infections. And as for the Wild Garlic it’s a potent antibacterial, antibiotic and antiseptic. And wild garlic, more significantly than cultivated garlic, is known to reduce blood pressure, and thus also reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. So I say get yourselves out there and a-gathering!
And I’m not the only one gloving-up to forage these wonder weed stingers. Andrea over at Shabby Chick made a tasty looking ricotta and filo Wild Greens Pie recently which I’m so going to try. Sarah at The Garden Deli cooked up Nettles with Cannellini Beans, the latter being a big favourite of mine but I’ve yet to try her lovely recipe. She also used them as part of a foraged Spring Leaves Pesto, gorgeous! The king of foraging and my foodie hero, Mr HFW, regularly writes about nettles and I know I’ve seen several other recipes recently incorporating them, but have somehow failed to locate them from my diminished memory bank for the purposes of this post. So if you have any nettle recipes I’d love to hear from you!
Since Nettles, Wild Garlic and Parsley are all in season right now I’m entering my post to Ren Behan’s Simple and in Season event. Also to Lavender and Lovage’s Herbs on Saturday challenge, currently hosted by Anneli over at Delicieux. And being about as frugal a risotto as one can make to Fab Food 4 All‘s and Fuss Free Flavour’s Credit Crunch Munch, this month hosted by Janice over at Farmersgirl’s Kitchen. And last but certainly not least to a new-blog-to-me, Foodie Laura, who so happens to be running the Nature’s Lunchbox Challenge showcasing freebie foraged meals!.
Nettle & Wild Garlic Risotto
Great for foragers, tight budgets, health kickers, vegans & vegetarians, bigger kids (who can get over the idea of eating nettles), grown ups, mid-week suppers
Enough for two hungry big people:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 shallots, very finely chopped
4 baby wild garlic bulbs OR a clove of cultivated Garlic, very finely chopped
180g of Arborio Risotto Rice
a glass of White Wine
600ml of hot Vegetable Stock (I invariably use Marigold)
3 large (gloved!) handfuls of Nettle Tops
a bunch of Wild Garlic Leaves
a small bunch of Flat Leaved Parsley
Salt and Pepper
a little very good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based saucepan on a gentle heat. Fry the shallots and wild garlic bulbs/clove of garlic for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Stir in the rice ensuring the grains get a good coating of the oil. Pour in the wine and stir. Allow to simmer on a gentle heat until most of the wine has evaporated/absorbed then stir in a ladleful of the hot stock. Continue to stir at regular intervals adding further ladlefuls of stock every time the last one’s almost absorbed.
Meanwhile prep the greenery!. With gloved hands remove any thick stems from the nettles and thoroughly wash the leaves. Blanch in boiling water for a couple of minutes then drain. Squeeze out the excess of water and finely chop. Wash and finely chop the wild garlic tops and parsley.
When the rice is tender stir in the diced nettles, garlic tops and most of the parsley (leave some for sprinkling on the top). Cook for a moment or two longer and then leave to rest for a couple of minutes before serving. Season with plenty of black pepper and a little salt.
Serve piping hot with a sprinkling of parsley and a handsome glug of good quality olive oil. Believe me you’ll feel instantly healthful! I personally enjoyed the delicate flavour of the nettles, wild garlic and parsley but if you’re in need of a little more sustenance then feel free to stir through a little creme fraiche and top with grated Parmesan.
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May 19th, 2013 at 10:26 pm
There are so many nettles in the garden at the moment – your risotto will be a tasty way to use some of them up! The Nature’s Lunchbox challenge sounds interesting too, I hadn’t come across it before. And many thanks for mentioning my bean and pesto recipes.
May 20th, 2013 at 7:19 pm
We’re literally overrun by nettles so I’m thinking up a few more ways to use them. Next up Nettle Pesto!
May 20th, 2013 at 1:10 am
I’ve never had nettles, I would love to forage but sometimes in Brooklyn foraging can be challenging. I love your risotto, light and fresh, chock full of herbs. Delicious. I think that either wild garlic or leeks sprouted up in my backyard. I have to check it out next to your photo.
May 20th, 2013 at 7:22 pm
I wouldn’t imagine there being too much foraging action going on in Brooklyn!. To be honest I wasn’t terribly sure what my wild garlic was at first, as it looks totally unlike the plants that grow in the wild in the UK, but on tasting there was no doubt it was garlic!. So I say go taste your wild leeks/garlic and see what you think?
May 20th, 2013 at 7:55 am
I love risotto and this looks delicious Louisa!
May 20th, 2013 at 7:22 pm
Thanks Anne, definitely my healthiest risotto to date!
May 20th, 2013 at 9:48 am
This sounds tasty and really healthy. Guess who’s going to be foraging today? The only trouble is I’ll have to try to beat the horses and hens to them!
May 20th, 2013 at 7:23 pm
Did you find any goodies? Love nothing more than having a scrat around and finding some freebie foods!
May 20th, 2013 at 7:33 pm
I found some wild mint but the only nettles I could find were covered in horse poo 😦
May 21st, 2013 at 4:33 pm
We’ve got kilos of wild mint in these parts too! Really should be using it more than I do, got any good recipes?
May 21st, 2013 at 4:48 pm
I heard of a good cucumber and mint soup – I’m going to look out a recipe…
May 22nd, 2013 at 11:46 am
Oh that sounds good…..I’m thinking of making a foraged goodies (nettles, dandelions, wild garlic…..) pie with feta and loads of mint. But not until the weather improves somewhat!
May 20th, 2013 at 4:57 pm
Risotto is one of my favourites and combining it with free foraged food makes it a winner all round 🙂
May 20th, 2013 at 7:24 pm
Thanks Laura, I’m a HUGE risotto fan too, with countless blogged now!. But this is by far the lightest, healthiest and most frugal.
May 21st, 2013 at 11:38 am
Wow – this is definitely a ‘Super Meal’ with all those health benefits! And half the ingredients were free too! Can it get any better? It looks so fresh and vibrant with all that lovely green running through it. A very clever recipe Lou, I love it 🙂 Thanks for entering Herbs On Saturday! xx
May 21st, 2013 at 4:37 pm
This really is one of the most healthful recipes I’ve ever posted! Just looking at the pics makes me feel instantly healthier and radient. And surprisingly it tasted pretty good too!.
May 21st, 2013 at 10:56 pm
Looks wonderful Louisa, I love how very full of healthy greens your risotto is. Lovely pic of your foraged goodies too. And thanks lots for mentioning my wild greens pie.
May 22nd, 2013 at 11:48 am
You’re so very welcome, your pie looks awesome! Will be making a version of it shortly….just as soon as it stops raining enough to do a spot more foraging.
May 22nd, 2013 at 11:38 am
What a brilliant freebie meal and so healthy too – a definite win/win for taste and frugality, well done! Thanks for entering this thrifty dish into Credit Crunch Munch:-)
May 22nd, 2013 at 11:49 am
Thanks Camilla, had a spot of bother trying to link it up to Credit Crunch Munch, linky doesn’t seem to want to work for me!
May 23rd, 2013 at 1:38 pm
All of my favourite things in one dish! I love nettles – so good for beer, pesto, and just to use as a green vegetable. I have a recipe for nettle gnocchi on my blog too.
Another brilliant thing about nettles – reserve the water that you wilt them in initially, and you have ready made nettle tea, which is also brilliant as a hair rinse, or on the garden!
Thanks for the recipe, I’m going to give this a go
May 24th, 2013 at 4:49 pm
Nettle pesto is definitely next on my mental Nettle List! I’m reckoning I might even get my kids to eat it then. Bet nettle gnocchi’s good….and a gorgeous colour!. And I so didn’t think about using the water as nettle tea, bet it’s packed full of goodies. I did make my own ‘nettle tea’ for the veggies last year, seemed to work wonders.
May 23rd, 2013 at 9:14 pm
Your risotto sounds and looks terrific. The ranch I grew up on in Texas was full of nettles and wild garlic but as far as I know, there is none on our property and orchard in New England.
May 24th, 2013 at 4:50 pm
Ah shame, do you have any other goodies worth foraging for?
May 24th, 2013 at 7:48 pm
Yes, in the spring there are fiddlehead ferns and wild asparagus. Later there are wild blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and grapes.
May 24th, 2013 at 8:00 pm
Oh lots of good stuff then! Not sure the ferns in the UK and Europe are supposed to be edible, like they are in the US and Asia. Shame, as heard they were pretty tasty? I haven’t even heard of wild asparagus, now there’s a forager’s dream!
June 17th, 2013 at 6:26 pm
[…] Lunch: Forager’s Freebie Nettle & Wild Garlic Risotto […]
June 19th, 2013 at 6:58 pm
[…] Here is another very beautiful entry from Louisa at Chez Foti who made a Nettle and Wild Garlic Risotto. Looks like a winner to […]
June 19th, 2013 at 7:07 pm
Never had nettle before – at least not that I’m aware of – but very curious to find out if I can forage for this in my neck of the woods.
(found you via Simple and in Season)
April 10th, 2014 at 1:40 am
[…] So my tactic has been to either top up the compost with nettles (only the ones that aren’t flowering or setting seed) or to eat them. Mixed with the perpetual spinach, beetroot and chard leaves that are having a new lease of life before new plants take over, I’ve been using them in wild greens pies or as a stuffing for cannelloni. I’d like to try Louisa at Chez Foti’s Forager’s Nettle and Wild Garlic risotto too. […]