Wild nettles are the star ingredient of this fresh ravioli. Swap in spinach if you're not a fan of foraging and serve with butter and crunchy hazelnuts
- Serves 2
- A challenge
Nutrition per serving
- 150g ‘00’ pasta flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 egg and 2 yolks, lightly beaten
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 100g foraged young wild nettles (or spinach if you can't get nettles)
- 100g ricotta (homemade if possible, see tip)
- 25g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated, plus shavings to serve
- 1 tbsp finely chopped lemon thyme leaves, plus extra to serve
- 1 lemon, zested, ½ in filling, ½ to serve
- 40g unsalted butter
- splash of whey (if you've made your own ricotta)
- handful roasted hazelnuts, chopped, to serve
TipBarney's foraging rules
Take a pocket guidebook, and check it before picking anything. Make sure that it is legal to forage in a public area or that you have the landowner’s permission. Use all your senses to identify the plants you are looking for; it may look similar to wild garlic but if it doesn’t smell of garlic – don’t eat it! Never pick leaves next to busy roads or lanes, or low down, where dogs are regularly walked. If foraging for stinging nettles, wear gloves when picking and make sure to cook properly.Homemade ricotta
Heat 1 litre full-fat milk and a pinch of salt to 80C, then remove from the heat and add 20ml lemon juice or white wine vinegar. Stir gently for 1 min until the curd forms, then cover and leave for 1 hr. Strain into a bowl using a sieve lined with muslin. Using this method gives you enough whey (the liquid in the bowl) to make the mousse on page 8, as well as having some beautiful homemade ricotta left in your sieve.
First make the pasta. Put the flour in a food processor with ¾ of your egg mixture and a pinch of salt. Blitz to large crumbs – they should come together to form a dough when squeezed (if it feels a little dry gradually add a bit more egg). Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead for 1 min or until nice and smooth – don’t worry if it’s quite firm as it will soften when it rests. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 30 mins.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Bring a pan of water to the boil and, wearing gloves, add the nettles to the pan. Cook for 2-3 mins to wilt and remove the stings. Drain, then put in a tea towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Roughly chop, mix with the other filling ingredients and season generously.
Cut away ¼ of the dough (keep the rest covered with cling film) and feed it through the widest setting on your pasta machine. (If you don’t have a machine, use a heavy rolling pin to roll the dough as thinly as possible.) Then fold into three, give the dough a quarter turn and feed through the pasta machine again. Repeat this process once more then continue to pass the dough through the machine, progressively narrowing the rollers, one notch at a time, until you have a smooth sheet of pasta. On the narrowest setting, feed the sheet through twice.
Put the pasta sheet on a lightly floured surface, then spoon teaspoons of the filling 4cm apart on the bottom half of the sheet. Using your fingers, pat water around each blob of filling. Fold the top half over the fillings and carefully squeeze around, making sure to remove any air pockets.
Cut between each ravioli using a pasta cutter or sharp knife, then pinch around the edges of each ravioli to make sure it is well sealed. Keep on a lightly floured baking tray while you repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. In a large, non-stick pan, melt the butter over a medium heat and cook for 2-3 mins until brown and nutty. Take off the heat and whisk in a splash of whey (or water). Cook the ravioli for 2-3 mins, remove with a slotted spoon and immediately toss in the brown butter sauce. Serve topped with lemon thyme leaves, lemon zest, shaved parmesan and hazelnuts.