Firstly I'm going to apologise for the rubbish pictures of my pasta. I'll use the excuse that I have a cold (my first in a couple of years) and I wasn't in the mood.
We don't eat weeds often but sometimes I get it into my head to do something a bit different. We have already had nettle pasta a time or two this season and that is probably my favourite way to eat nettles. I'm not a fan of nettle soup but Tim likes it so I make that on occasion too. The reason why I chose nettles for my pasta filling yesterday was that my spinach and silverbeet/ chard are just not ready to be picked in large enough quantities.
The nettles however are lush and asking to be picked or at least removed.
The secret to no stings is simple. Don't touch them. I use a rather uncoordinated approach with scissors and tongs to snip the leaves off before blanching them. The blanching process destroys their stinging powers.
Nettle and ricotta filled pasta.
300 grams plain flour
200 grams stinging nettles (or spinach, silverbeet or other greens of choice), discard stems
200 grams ricotta
1 egg yolk
100 grams Parmesan, grated
100 grams butter
1/2 cup sage leaves
Make pasta by combining the eggs and flour in a food processor until it comes together. Then knead for a few minutes until it is smooth. Allow to rest whilst making the filling.
Blanch the nettle leaves, drain and then squeeze out excess liquid.
Chop the nettles finely and combine with the remaining filling ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roll the pasta into sheets about 5cm wide and as thin as possible. Fresh lasagne sheets from the fridge section in the supermarket could substitute.
Place a pasta sheet on a lightly floured surface and place heaped teaspoons of filling every 5cm.
Dampen the pasta around the filling and top the pasta with a second sheet.
Press around the filling to remove air pockets and seal.
Cut into squares.
Cook the pasta in a saucepan of boiling water until done to your liking. About 5 minutes for me.
To make the sauce, cook the butter in a fry pan over a medium heat for a minute then add the sage leaves.
Cook for another two minutes until the butter is slightly brown and the sage leaves are crisp.
Remove from heat and add the pasta.
Toss gently to coat the pasta in the sauce and serve.
Next time I will make a tomato based sauce for these because I think that would go well together and I prefer it to buttery sauces.