During his childhood days in Mandello del Lario on the shores of Italy’s Lake Cuomo, chef Matteo Venini and his friends would chase each other around with bunches of nettles, doing their best to avoid the herb's stinging touch. Years later, he’s using the plant in gnocchi at the newly-opened Lupo Verde Osteria (4814 MacArthur Blvd.) in the Palisades.
Venini, who also works with Lupo Verde on 14th and T St. NW, says nettle is something different to offer diners.
“From my knowledge, and that's only from Italian cuisine, there is nothing that can be close to it,” Venini says of the herb's earthy taste. “I think it’s a very different flavor.”
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Travis moved to D.C. in 2007 has written about the city's diverse food scene for a number of outlets over the years, including Eater DC, Washington City Paper, Washingtonian and DCist, where he was formerly the food editor.