Nettle Pasta

5 from 8 votes
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Uncooked nettle pasta on the cutting board.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

While I am always on the lookout for good stinging nettle recipes, I keep coming back to nettle pasta. I first made this pretty green pasta in 2010, and it has become one of my favorite dishes for early springtime.

This particular nettle pasta is called strettine. It is a springtime favorite in Emilia Romagna, which is north of Rome and lies in the agricultural heartland of the peninsula; this is where you get that amazing parmigiana cheese and bolognese sauce we all love.

Strettine is a flat, narrow pasta enriched with eggs and chopped nettles — young nettles are loaded with vitamins and act as a spring tonic after eating so much heavy food all winter. Spinach is a good substitute.

To make it, you need to boil the nettles in salty water for a minute or two, then shock in ice water. You then chop or puree the nettles to incorporate into the pasta. It is important to chop the cooked nettles very well or you will get streaky bits in the noodles.

Or better yet, mix the chopped nettles with a little water and puree in a blender or food processor. Strettine dry pretty well, so you can make them a day ahead — don’t try to store for too long, though, or they will get brittle and break. Eat within a few days.

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What to serve your nettle pasta with?

Make enough to do two meals: First with just good fresh butter and parmigiana cheese, and then with a sugo or ragu of “white meats,” meaning chicken, pheasant, rabbit, quail, turkey, etc. The best ragu recipe I can think of is one with rabbit or chicken I call Winter Into Spring.

You can also use this basic pasta dough to make nettle ravioli.

nettle pasta recipe
5 from 8 votes

Nettle Pasta

This pasta recipe is designed for fresh or thawed nettles, but dried nettle powder also works. You'll need to adjust the water content of the recipe, however. You'll see I use no egg here. The reason is because it alters the color, and not in a good way. 
Course: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes


  • 10 ounces all-purpose flour, about 2 heaping cups
  • 4 1/2 ounces blanched nettles or spinach, about a cup


  • Depending on how old your nettles are, you will need two or three big tong-fulls of fresh nettles to get your 4 ounces. I say tong-fulls because you do not want to pick up fresh nettles, as they will sting you. Thus the name. Get a huge pot of water boiling and add a handful of salt. Grab the nettles with tongs and put them into the boiling water. Stir around and boil for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on how old they are. Fish them out with a skimmer or the tongs and immediately dump them into a big bowl with ice water in it. Once they are cool, put them in a colander to strain.
  • Remove any thick stems. Chop the nettles roughly. Puree the nettles with a little water in a blender. When you are done, add a little water into the bowl of the blender to help clean it out, but save the water -- you might need this "nettle water" if your dough is not moist enough.
  • Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the nettle puree and gradually incorporate it into the flour until you get a shaggy mass. If it's too stiff add a little of the nettle water. Start folding the dough over itself until it comes together, then begin kneading. This is a medium strength dough, so you’ll need to knead for 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Cover the dough with a thin film of olive oil and wrap in plastic. Let it sit for an hour.
  • Cut off a piece of the dough and roll it out in a pasta machine. How thick? Your choice. But the traditional width for strettine is relatively thick, about a little less than 1/8 inch. This corresponds to No. 5 on my machine, which is an Atlas.
  • Once you have your sheet of pasta, you can cut it with the wide tines on your pasta cutter. That’s easy, but the real noodles are a little narrower. To hand cut your noodles, make sure the sheet is supple and cool, not sticky. If it is sticky, dust with a little flour and smooth it over the surface with your hand. Loosely roll the dough sheet up so that the slices you are about to make form long pasta. Using a sharp (it must be sharp, or you will be in trouble!) chef’s knife, cleaver or other large blade, slice the loose roll at intervals somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inches. Lay the pasta on the counter or board with some flour dusted on them. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  • After every little batch, pick up the previous one that had been drying and give it a slight twist, making it into a loose nest. This makes for easier storage. The strettine will sit like this for up to a day. Boil in lots of salty water until they float, and then for another minute or two.


Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 321IU | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!


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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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  1. A perfect recipe to use the blanched nettles put up in my freezer. Excellent pasta, tender with just the right amount of body. A hit with my family.

    1. This looks great! If I wanted to batch cook how long would it store for and how would be the best way to store it? thanks

  2. Thank you for this! I also prefer eggless fresh pasta (which is what is done in Puglia and Calabria) and seeing it’s possible to do strettine without eggs is fantastic. I’ve made them many times in the past few springs after harvesting from the ravine behind our house in Seattle and I hand cut them. Using the rinse water from the blender is a neat trick as it makes up for the moisture lost without the eggs.

  3. This recipe was a revelation. Thank you! I served it tonight topped with sauteed morels to accompany grilled quail.

  4. I’ll try again, because the details did not come through:
    Here is the recipe for Nettle Khachapuri.

    mix together:
    2 eggs
    100 g (a bit less than 4 oz) butter
    500 g (2 scant cups) yogurt (full fat or greek-style is better)
    add 600 – 700 g (1.5 pounds) of bread flour and about 20 g (2 tsp) baking powder and 10 g (1 tsp) baking soda plus 5g (1/2 tsp) salt and knead until you have an elastic dough

    oil the surface and cover and let rest for several hours.

    Roll out the dough to about twice the size of your baking tray. If you roll it out on baking paper you can manipulate it more easily after. Cover half the surface with shredded feta (about 400g- a bit less than a pound) and mozzarella (about 400-500g – a bit less than a pound), leaving about a 3 cm (a bit more than 1 inch) border. Cover this with a generous layer of washed and drained nettle leaves. I chop them up in the colander a bit with a pair of scissors). Wear gloves when handling. I also add other greens that are around – garlic mustard, ramps, dandelion greens, hogweed (you would probably call it cow parsnip in North America) … whatever… but it is good with just nettle.

    Flap the other half of the dough over to cover. Press the edge together and roll it up a bit to seal. Cut holes in the top with the scissors or a knife to let the steam from the nettles escape during baking.

    Slide this onto your baking tray and bake at 180°C (350°F) for about 30 minutes.

  5. Hi Hank and others,

    my friend posted my go to nettle recipe on her site “soil and spice” here . It’s a balkan bread stuffed with cheeses and nettles (or any other greens you feel like, like maybe garlic mustard or hogweed or dandelions…)

  6. Hi Hank!
    Looks like an amazing recipe and I’m going to make it tonight, I think, as I just harvested a huge bag of nettles today. I noticed in your initial description you said they’re traditionally enriched with eggs, how many eggs would I add to the recipe? Does it change it much? Just wondering why they’re omitted 🙂

    Thanks so much!

    1. Kristy: I leave out the eggs because they change the color of the pasta to something less pretty and green. If you must use eggs, use only the whites.

  7. Well, it’s May in Maine and I finally have a huge bag of fresh nettles! (February came and went and no nettles in sight…imagine that.) I came upon your website and I’m so glad I did, because I was inspired to finally get out the pasta maker, which was gathering dust in my cupboard. It was my first time making pasta and I LOVED it!! So yummy, easy, and fun. I added 2 eggs to your recipe (we have chickens and are always trying to use up eggs) and it came out great. Thanks!! Tonight I am adding fresh fiddle heads to the second batch of pasta to make it a quintessential spring feast.