At Delfina in San Francisco, Craig Stoll serves this delicate, fresh-tasting sauce over house-made nettle pasta. Nettles, which grow wild in many parts of the West, have small stinging hairs when raw, but once cooked, they're safe to touch.
1 pound stinging nettles* (or use 1 1/2 qts. coarsely chopped mustard greens with stems and ribs removed, plus 1 lb. baby spinach leaves)
12 ounces tagliatelle pasta
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
About 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts
How to Make It
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, fill the sink with water. Wearing rubber gloves, pull nettle leaves from stems into sink. Swish to rinse; drain. Add nettles to boiling water. Simmer until soft, 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with cool water, and squeeze out water. Whirl in a food processor until smooth.
Cook pasta as package directs. Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in pot used for nettles. Whisk in nettle purée, salt, and 1 cup hot pasta water; keep warm over low heat.
Drain pasta, reserving about 2 cups water. Add pasta to pot of sauce and toss with 3/4 cup parmesan, half of pine nuts, and some reserved water if needed so it's loose-textured. Transfer to a shallow bowl and sprinkle with remaining pine nuts and a little more parmesan if you like.
*Find nettles at farmers' markets. (They grow wild in many areas too.)
Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
Delfina, San Francisco, California
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