Spring Italian – Curly Dock Shells

Goodness it has been a while since I have been on here; medical school has been exceptionally busy as we wind up the semester and prepare for the board exam.
Being busy does not prevent me from being bitten by the spring bug, or the foraging bug. By the way, if you haven’t checked out my foraged mushroom cous cous recipe or a fall throwback foraging adventure here, you are missing out. It’s 70 degrees and I got out of lab early so foraging it was today. Found some beautiful Curly dock on my stroll and changed dinner plans to incorporate it. Curly Dock, what’s that? It’s a leafy spring green ubiquitous in the Midwest Americas with 6 species (Rumex crispus commonly found), that are absolutely awesome to forage for. Some species are native while others are considered invasive. It’s totally palatable to humans with tremendous versatility in cuisine but actually toxic to cows. It grows in these unique rosettes (silly me did not take a picture while out, so here is one from the web) and is one of the earlier spring greens to mature.

Curly Dock via wikicommons, not my photo because I forgot to take one. Species are difficult to differentiate until the plant seeds. Seed stems can reach up to 3 feet in height.

So what am I going to craft with this hearty green? Pasta of course! Because who doesn’t love comfort food, and today was a long day.

My foraging prize!

Thanks to Aldi with $0.50 packages of li’l smokies I whipped up a sausage and cream sauce shell wrapped in the Curly Dock goodness and smothered in Italian and Parmesan cheese. Hubby loved it; win for all. And yes, these are my favorite pasta bowls I totally bought at a garage sale.

Cast Iron skillet browned to perfection

Enjoy the pictures and tell me what you have been foraging this spring!

All the cheesy goodness

The aforementioned favorite pasta bowl

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