Kathryn Joel’s Stinging Nettle Tagliatelle


Stinging Nettle Tagliatelle with Tomatoes, Ricotta and Dandelion Greens or Lamb’s Quarters
“I served this pasta as a course at our Open Farm Days Dinner at Prairie Gardens last year. You can substitute arugula or nasturtium leaves for the wild greens, in which case you can stir the leaves into the pasta without pan-searing first. At Get Cooking we dry our nettle stems on sheet pans after we pick the leaves, then use them to make a nettle powder. You will find dandelion greens in early May and lamb’s quarters in early June.” -Kathryn Joel, Get Cooking

Nettle Pasta

375 g 00 flour (or you can use all-purpose flour)
75 g stinging nettle leaves (use gloves)
3 lg eggs
pinch of salt

Heat a large pot of water, adding salt. Fill a bowl with water, adding ice to create an ice bath. Blanch the nettles in the boiling salted water, for just 30 seconds to a minute, then drain and refresh in the ice water bath. Drain and dry the nettles well—squeeze them dry in a tea towel. Finely chop the cooked nettles.

Pour the flour onto your work surface and make a wide well in the center. Pour the eggs into the well and beat them together with a fork. Using the fork, start mixing the flour into the eggs from the inside edges of the well. As you start to combine the eggs with flour, add the chopped nettles to the egg. Continue mixing the flour into the eggs and nettles, using the fork then your hands, until you have a firm, kneadable dough that isn’t too dry. Stop incorporating flour when your dough has reached the right consistency. (It is easier to adjust a dough that is too wet, than a dough that is too dry.) Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic (if you push your finger into the dough it should be moist but not sticky, and it should spring back). Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. If you are resting it for more than an hour, you can rest your dough in your fridge. When you’re ready to roll out your dough, cut it in two and flatten one half with a rolling pin or your hands (wrap the other half back up in plastic wrap or it will dry out). Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto your pasta machine rollers and your work surface before you start rolling. If your dough is sticky you may need to use more flour.

Roll the dough through the machine, one setting at a time, starting at the widest setting and working your way down to the third or fourth setting. Now fold the rolled dough. Depending on the length use a book fold, or fold the ends into the center, and then fold again: the goal is for the cut sides to be about as wide as the rollers on your machine so you can roll it through again and achieve a wide, even sheet of pasta. Once your pasta is folded, start rolling it again, starting at the widest setting. When you have rolled it through all of the settings (or the second last depending on your machine—you should be able to see your hand through your pasta), cut it into appropriate lengths and lay it on a floured tea towel to dry for a few minutes. You could also hang it over a broom handle or a pasta rack. When the pasta feels dry but still pliable, you can cut it with your machine, or by hand, into tagliatelle. Leave to dry for 10 minutes or so on a lightly floured tea towel. Now it is ready to cook, or you can form it into bundles and leave it to dry.


3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 sm onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves picked and chopped
1 fresh red chile, chopped (remove the seeds to reduce the heat)
350 g chopped heirloom tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes halved lengthways
1 glass white wine
salt and pepper to taste
150 g dandelion greens, or lamb’s quarters, washed, stemmed and sliced if needed
zest of 1 lemon, and juice, to taste
100 g ricotta, drained, if it is high in moisture content
salt and pepper to taste
handful Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, to serve

Heat the oil in a pan and sweat the onion until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, chili and oregano and stir for just a minute, until fragrant.

Now add the tomatoes, stirring to combine, then stir in the white wine, and a pinch of salt. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, and season to taste. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a sauté pan, and add the dandelion greens, or lamb’s quarters, to wilt for a minute or two. Season with lemon juice and salt.

Cook the pasta in plenty of well-salted boiling water until just al dente. Drain the cooked pasta, retaining some of the cooking water. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce and combine over a gentle heat adding a little of the pasta cooking water as needed. Stir in the wilted greens, then gently stir in the ricotta together with the parsley and lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste. Don’t overmix, the ricotta should still have some texture. Serve with grated Pecorino.

Serves 4 as a main course.