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Zuppa di ortica e asparagi

Nettle and Asparagus Soup

You can actually leave the asparagus out and go full nettle, but the asparagus adds a nice seasonal touch and goes nicely with the nettles flavour-wise. It seems like quite an outlandish thing to do (making soup out of stingy nettles), but honestly once you’ve done the picking, it’s really simple to make and has a special flavour. Nettles actually taste nothing like they look. They appear sharp and grassy, but they have an incredible full, rich, and even creamy flavour. Give this a go - nettles are bloody everywhere, and they’re free. FREE FOOD!

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Serves 4

  • About 200-300g nettle leaves (don’t worry too much about exact weights - think two large salad bowl’s worth. It might take you half an hour to pick this amount but the fresh air will do you good!)
  • Small bunch of asparagus, roughly chopped
  • Good glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • Knob of butter (oil for flavour, butter for richness)
  • 1 large potato, cut into cubes
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • Good handful grated Parmesan cheese, extra for garnish
  • Fresh chives, for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Poached egg (optional)