Fresh stinging nettle is one of our most nutritious wild foods and makes a great cooked green, and it's also a perfect addition to fresh hand-made pasta. Since it keeps its bright green color after cooking, it makes a beautiful and healthful pasta.
3 c nettle leaves, loosely packed (use gloves to gather, use scissors to cut leaves off stems)
1 large farm egg
1 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour (preferably organic)
pinch of sea salt
Blanch nettle for 3 minutes, rinse in cold water and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Puree egg and nettle to a smooth consistency in a food processor fitted with a blade.
Add flour and salt and mix to combine. It shouldn't be sticky but should hold together when pinched. Knowing when the consistency is right is something that takes practice.
Gather into a ball, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth and elastic.
Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for half an hour in the fridge. Roll out and cut taglierini style (or whatever your pasta preference) in a pasta machine. Follow the directions that come with your machine.
If you're not going to use the pasta right away, toss in flour and allow to air dry for an hour.
In an air tight container, it'll keep for up to 3 days in the refigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.
When ready to use, boil in 5 or 6 quarts of salted water for 2 to 3 minutes or until al dente. Overcooking will result in disappointment.
Toss with olive oil or butter to prevent sticking and add your favorite pasta sauce.
Cindy uses a really basic hand-cranked pasta machine that costs about 30 bucks, although pasta roller and cutter attachments for a Kitchenaid would make the process easier. Here's a great video on using a hand-cranked pasta maker on Fine Cooking's website.
8 oz. fresh nettle pasta
2 ramp bulbs, minced (can substitute onion and garlic)
2 T butter
pinch of crushed red pepper
8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms de-stemmed and sliced (we like using chanterelles, too)
splash of dry white wine
1/2 c half and half
Bring 5 or 6 quarts of salted water to a boil and cook pasta 2 to 3 minutes until al dente.
Drain and toss with olive oil or butter and set aside.
Saute butter, ramps and crushed red pepper for a minute or two on medium heat.
Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and continue to cook until shiitakes start to give up their juices.
Splash with wine.
Add half and half and reduce for a minute or two until sauce gets slightly thick.
Add pasta and toss to combine. Heat another minute and add more half and half if it seems dry.
Serve topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.