3baby beetroot with leaves2 tbspolive oil, plus extra to serve3garlic cloves, thinly slicedTo serve:crumbled soft goat’s cheese or finely grated parmesanPasta dough500 gm“00” flour2eggs3egg yolksNettle butter100 gmbutter, softened100 gmstinging nettle leaves, washed thoroughly
Preheat oven to 220C. Trim beetroot (reserve leaves) and place in a roasting pan, drizzle with half the olive oil and season to taste. Add 125ml water to pan, cover with foil and roast until tender (1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes). Cool, peel, thinly slice and set aside.
Meanwhile, for pasta dough, process ingredients and a generous pinch of salt in a food processor. Gradually add 80-120ml water or enough to bring dough together without becoming too sticky. Process until a ball forms, turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth (3-5 minutes). Cover and set aside at room temperature to rest (20-30 minutes). Cut dough into four pieces, then, working with one piece at a time, feed dough through pasta machine rollers starting at the widest setting, flouring dough as you go, folding and feeding through, reducing settings notch by notch until you reach the second-last setting. Feed pasta through fettuccine cutter, transfer to a flour-dusted tray and repeat with remaining pasta. Set aside.
For nettle butter, melt 20gm butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add nettles (reserving a small handful for serving) and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted (2 minutes). Cool, then process in a food processor with remaining butter, season to taste and set aside.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (2-4 minutes). Drain and return to pan to keep warm.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add remaining olive oil and garlic and cook until just fragrant (10-20 seconds), add nettle butter and beetroot leaves and cook until butter is fragrant and leaves wilt (1-2 minutes). Toss through reserved nettle leaves and beetroot and then toss through pasta. Serve immediately, scattered with goat’s cheese or parmesan and drizzled with olive oil.
Stinging nettles have the greenest flavour imaginable. A good
Italian grocer should be able to get them for you; if you're
picking them wild, be sure to use gloves - they're not called
stinging nettles for nothing. Use only the tender small leaves and
remove any seeds or flowers. If you can't find nettles, go without
the nettle butter and use a good amount of extra-virgin olive oil
in its place.