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.
- 3 baby beetroot with leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- crumbled soft goat’s cheese or finely grated parmesan, To serve
- 500 gm “00” flour
- 2 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 100 gm butter, softened
- 100 gm stinging nettle leaves, washed thoroughly
- 1Preheat 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.
- 2Meanwhile, 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.
- 3For 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.
- 4Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente (2-4 minutes). Drain and return to pan to keep warm.
- 5Meanwhile, 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.
Drink Suggestion: Lagrein. Drink suggestion by Max Allen