One of my favorite early spring greens is stinging nettles (Urtica dioica.) Ella and I have been making pasta out of nettles since she was four. I believe I originally from another herbal website (possibly Herb Mentor?) but as I search now I cannot find it to link to, so I am sorry that I cannot give you an original source. However, we did change it: we ground buckwheat to use as our flour making the noodles gluten-free.
Let me share our spring ritual with you.
- Harvest young stinging nettles. You'll need three cups of chopped fresh nettles (which will steam way down) for the pasta. *When harvesting and chopping fresh nettles, you may want to use gloves to avoid being stung.*
- We are gluten free so we like to make our own flour, which we do easily in our high speed blender. Today we ground buckwheat groats into flour and used 2 cups, plus extra for kneading on. Rice flour also works well.
- Place steamed nettles and two eggs into a blender and mix.
- On a table or in a bowl, make a pile of flour with a well in the middle.
- Put the nettle/egg mixture in the well and mix/knead into the flour
- If too sticky, add more flour.
- Place dough ball under wet cloth and let it "rest" for 15 minutes.
- Cut about a fourth of the dough off and roll it out on a floured surfaced as thinly as possible. (If you have a pasta maker by all means use it!) Cover the dough you are not rolling with the wet cloth.
- Cut into strips and set aside as you continue to roll and cut all the pasta.
- Place the pasta in boiling water and cook about 3 minutes (fresh pasta does not need much time to cook.)
- Drain pasta. I returned it to the pot and added some butter, fresh chopped tomatoes and salt while I sauteed the rest of the veggies, which I then mixed in.
In a separate pan in butter, saute 1/2 large onion, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms and 1 cup chopped fresh nettles. (You may want to use gloves while chopping the nettles.)
Mix into noodles, add salt to taste and enjoy!