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Recipe - Nettle risotto with mascarpone

We always use gloves, and wash the leaves in plenty of fresh cold water. Then we blanch them in boiling salty water for a minute or two. We refresh the nettles in iced water and spin dry them. They are then picked over and the stems are removed (at this stage, they can not sting you).

Then we puree the leaves in a blender with a little water (or you can finely shred the leaves too).
We add the nettle puree to the risotto just before serving.

For our risotto at Sage Restaurant:

3 cups good quality Arborio rice
100gm butter
60ml extra virgin olive oil
½ brown onion finely diced
1.5 lt boiling chicken stock or water flavoured with bay leaves
80gm mascarpone cheese
150ml nettle puree (follow the above method- you need about a big flower posy worth of raw nettles.)
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
shaved quality parmesan cheese
finely chopped curly leaf parsley


Method

1. Using a large thick based pot on gentle heat, sweat the onion in the butter and oils without colouring

2. Add all the rice and warm through thoroughly in the pot.

3. Add about 500ml of the stock and stir – be careful of the steam

4. Add more of the stock to the rice as the stock is absorbed. It should be on a moderate heat and simmering gently. Try to think of it as bathing the rice gently, not drowning it.

5. Repeat this process, stirring continuously until the rice is tender and looks creamy. (approx. 10-15 mins)

6. Stir in the mascarpone, nettle puree and parsley

7. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as required.

8. Serve immediately.

Recipe - Thomas Moore 2007