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Nettle ravioli

These look magnificent and will convince everyone of your wild foody credentials. Years ago, John watched his friend Rosanna, a Neapolitan mamma of classic proportions and character, rolling out pasta sheets and cutting tagliatelle with the expertise that came from a lifetime s experience. For mortals, a cheap pasta-making machine is a safer route to take. Making your own pasta with one of these is fun and not at all difficult, unless your machine has more personality than is good for it.

Method

Wash the nettles (for the pasta and filling), simmer in a little water for 10 minutes, then drain thoroughly.

For the pasta, take two-thirds of the nettles and squeeze out as much water as you can, then chop them very, very finely, almost to a powder.

Heap the flour into a mound on a clean surface and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs and salt. Start to mix to a dough, then add the nettles and continue kneading until it is an even green colour. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Slice the pignuts and briefly sauté in a little oil (or just chop other nuts). Chop the remaining (cooked) nettles and the wild garlic (just crush ordinary garlic). In a bowl, mix the nettles, pignuts, wild garlic and egg together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out the pasta into thin sheets, using a pasta machine; keep the sheets covered with a very slightly damp tea-towel as you work, to prevent them drying out.

One sheet at a time, cut out rounds, using a 6cm pastry cutter. Spoon a little of the filling into the centre of half of the pasta discs and place another disc on top of each.

Press firmly with a ravioli press (if you have one) or just press the edges together firmly and crimp with the handle of a knife. Keep covered while making the rest.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the ravioli and cook at a fast boil until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 3-4 minutes.

Drain thoroughly and serve on warmed plates, topped with melted butter or grated Parmesan or, best of all, with wild garlic pesto.

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Ingredients

For the pasta

  • 100g stinging nettle leaves
  • 500g Italian ‘00’ pasta flour
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp sea salt

For the filling

  • 50g stinging nettle leaves
  • 25g pignuts, plus a little oil (or hazelnuts or pine kernels)
  • 25g wild garlic leaves (or an ordinary garlic clove)
  • 1 egg
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

  • Melted butter, freshly grated Parmesan or wild garlic pesto

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Hedgerow Handbook

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