,What is agretti? This vegetable is typical of the beautiful season, the arrival of spring in Italy. Also known as barba dl frate (Monk’s beard), in English salsola soda, opposite-leaved saltwort, or barilla plant.

It was widely cultivated until 1800 for the extraction of soda ash. For us, the important thing is that the leaves and stems of Salsola soda are edible and are part of the Mediterranean diet for their multiple properties.

Rich in water and vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin E, agretti also contain calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium, which makes them a true remineralizing agent. Finally, they are rich in fiber and, consequently, stimulate intestinal functions and have a decent laxative effect. And more, they are particularly indicated in low-calorie diets since they contain very few carbohydrates.


Agretti is bought only fresh and should be consumed within a few days. At the time of purchase, the stems must be bright green, while the roots are whitish until they become red at the end. The stem is rich in water and is long and slightly flat.

Before cooking, the agretti must be cleaned very well and deprived of the root that must be cut with a small knife. Most of the time at the grocery /supermarket you’ll find them already cleaned off the roots. They must be washed thoroughly with various rinses as they retain a lot of soil. To wash them at best leave them in water for 15 min. and then proceed to a couple of rinses. In this way, the earth will settle on the bottom of the bowl .

This vegetable can also be eaten raw, seasoned as a salad, with salt, oil, and a few drops of lemon, but the recipe today is

Pasta with agretti

This type of seasoning is suitable for any type of pasta. However, we suggest spaghetti, since the agretti have a filiform appearance and are well suited to be rolled up with a fork.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 350 Gr. = 3 cups of spaghetti                        2 tufts of agretti
  • 10 small cherry tomatoes, cherries                2 tbsp. pine nuts
  • 1 pinch = 1/2 tsp .of fine salt                      2 tbs. EVOO

 grated Parmigiano cheese to taste         black pepper (optional)


First, clean the agretti and scald them in boiling water Drain them very “al dente because” they will then be sautéed in a pan with the other ingredients and prolonged cooking would make them too soft.

 Boil the water for the pasta.

Meanwhile in a pan with a non-stick bottom put the pine nuts to toast. Move the pan often to prevent them from burning and, when they have acquired an amber color, put them on a saucer

 In the pan pour 2 tbsp EVOO and cook a couple of cloves of garlic, peeled

 Add the tomatoes, previously washed and cut in half, to the pan. Add salt and cook for three to four minutes. Tomatoes should not be fully cooked

 Cook the spaghetti and drain them al dente, taking care to keep a glass of cooking water

Pour the spaghetti into the pan with the tomatoes, add the agretti and stir everything. If necessary, add a little cooking water.

 When cooked, add the pine nuts keeping some aside for the decoration of the dish.

 Add a drizzle of raw oil and serve.

 Decorate with the pine nuts and serve with a sprinkling of Parmigiano cheese and a pinch of pepper.

Did you know the agretti ?