Nettle Ravioli

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Finished nettle ravioli on the plate
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Nettle ravioli are a wonderful way to celebrate the coming of spring.

Stinging nettles are a traditional springtime food wherever they grow. There is a reason for this. Despite their ferocious stingers, stinging nettles are incredibly high in vitamins C, D, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Nettles are unusually high in protein for a green plant, and are usually pretty common in cool, wet weather.

Many, many cultures turn to nettles to break the nutritional privations of winter, when few green things are available. This is what happened in Italy’s alpine regions, among other places.

This recipe is a mashup of two traditional Italian nettle pastas. The pasta itself is a nettle pasta, which when cut into linguini-like strands is called strettine. The filling is from the far north of Italy, Alto Adige and Trentino. It’s surprisingly like an Irish colcannonmashed potatoes with minced nettles — plus a healthy bit of mascarpone cheese to make it Italian.

You’ll want to serve your nettle ravioli simply, with melted butter, a little pecorino cheese, some freshly ground black pepper. Oh, and a white wine, ideally a big one like a white Bordeaux or Cotes du Rhone.

Step by step instructions on making the nettle pasta are here. Here’s how to make the raviolis themselves.

If you are looking for other recipes using stinging nettles, try my nettle pesto, or Scandinavian nettle soup, or German nettle spätzle. And if you want another great ravioli recipe using wild ingredients, I am particularly fond of my mushroom ravioli recipe.

Finished nettle ravioli on the plate
5 from 3 votes

Nettle Ravioli in Nettle Pasta

Once you make your ravioli, you can freeze them for up to a few months before they get too brittle. To properly do this, arrange uncooked ravioli on a baking sheet that has been dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Put the baking sheet into the freezer. When the ravioli have frozen solid, about 2 hours, you can move them to a freezer bag and store that way.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 batch stinging nettle pasta see below
  • 8 ounces cooked Yukon Gold or other waxy potatoes
  • 4 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 cup blanched stinging nettles about 4 ounces
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions 

  • You will want to start the process by making the pasta. Instructions for doing so are here. While the pasta dough is resting, make the filling.
    Nettle pasta dough ready to be rolled out.
  • To make the filling, 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 large 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 2 minutes, depending on how old the nettles 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 the nettles in a colander to strain. Get a cloth towel, like a tea towel, and put the nettles in it. Wrap one end of the towel one way, then the other end of the towel the other and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
  • Chop the nettles finely -- don't use a food processor or you will get a mush.  In a bowl, mash the potatoes, mascarpone and nettles into a cohesive paste. Do this by hand, as it is important for the texture. Taste it and add salt and pepper to your liking. If you want, a little nutmeg is good, too.
    nettle ravioli filling
  • Roll out your pasta dough. Cut the dough ball into 4 to 6 equal pieces. Keep each piece covered in plastic or under a tea towel until you need it. Using a pasta maker, roll the dough into long sheets at least 2 inches wide. Roll them very thin: I go to No. 8, which is the second-thinnest on my Atlas.
  • Lay the sheets down on a work surface (I use a large maple board) and place about a heaping teaspoon of filling on each one, at least 2 inches apart. Cover them with another piece of the dough.
    making nettle ravioli
  • As you are laying the second piece of dough down, carefully press it to remove any trapped air. Start from one end of the sheet and work toward the other. It takes practice to do this seamlessly, and I don't always get every raviolo right. Cut each raviolo out with a circle cutter or a wineglass. Of course, you can also use a standard ravioli mold or cut them into squares with a ravioli cutter. When each raviolo is finished, lay it out on a well floured board to dry a bit. Repeat this with the rest of the dough.
  • You can let the ravioli sit out for a couple hours, but for more than that you should refrigerate them. Don't refrigerate for more than 8 hours, though, or the filling will destroy the ravioli. If you need to store them for any length of time, freeze them according to the instructions above.
  • To cook the ravioli, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well; it should taste of the sea. While the water is heating, melt some butter or olive oil in a large sauté pan set over medium-low heat. Add some minced garlic if you'd like. Don't let the garlic brown, though.
  • Boil the ravioli for 2 to 3 minutes, or about 90 seconds after they start to float to the top. Move them to the sauté pan and toss to coat with the butter. Serve at once with freshly ground black pepper and grated pecorino or parmesan cheese.

Notes

Serve these ravioli with simple, high-quality butter, fresh ground black pepper and some grated dry cheese. A Tocai Friulano or other big white wine would be an ideal accompaniment.

Nutrition

Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 209mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 563IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 1mg

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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19 Comments

  1. My wife and I made the nettle pasta ravioli this weekend. Stuffed with smoked wild turkey, and served with a roasted red bell pepper sauce, in the bottom of the pasta dish, it was excellent and beautiful on the plate.
    I had hoped to serve with morels rather than the pepper sauce, keeping with the spring theme, but the timing was off between morel season and my harvesting of the turkey. Maybe next year.
    I enjoy you site and your cookbooks. Thank you for keeping it interesting.
    Scott

  2. This looks so amazing and I’m super inspired by your site contents thus far… thank you for sharing and for writing these well-written, clear, easy-to-follow recipes!

  3. Bitterness from nettles may come from using more mature leaves. Best to use the most tender leaves and to pick the nettles before they start to bolt.

  4. It seems like the more I look at springtime recipes the more snow we have been getting in the mountains (which is by no means a bad thing!) – I will have to stow this one away for someday soon, thanks for sharing!

  5. Your ravioli looks so delicious. I haven’t had nettle before but I have been researching and I want to try it, especially in this recipe.

  6. I’m looking forward to my patch of nettles appearing if spring ever comes. Thanks for the recipe and great pictures.

  7. Ok, thank you so much for the advice. I did pick them myself, and yes they are definitely nettles – very assertively nettles, in fact. The soup’s slight bitter edge must have come from one of the other ingredients. I’ve never cooked with nettles before, so I needed a hint. Thanks again; I greatly appreciate your site.

  8. Abi: I’ve never encountered that. Where did you get your nettles? From a market or did you pick them yourself? Is it possible you picked a different plant?

  9. Is it possible to wind up with a slightly bitter taste in a nettle dish due to using the wrong part of the nettle or improper blanching or something? I made the nettle soup posted on Simply Recipes (https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/nettle_soup/), and it’s lovely but there’s an odd bitterness to it. I figured I’d ask you Hank, since she references you on her site and you’d probably know more about nettles. Could I have done something wrong with the nettles to cause the bitter bite? Thanks for everything you do here.

  10. Hank

    We made this recipe this past Sunday and really enjoyed it. After cutting the circles of ravioli, we collected the extra edges of dough into one mass and put them in the refrigerator in plastic. We took it out of the fridge last night and let it get closer to room temp over the course of two hours (it was chilly and rainy in Seattle this week) before rolling it out on the thinnest setting of our pasta machine and cutting into lasagna sheets. I layered the four sheets with dandelion greens, chard, asparagus, ricotta, parmigiana, and a garlic porcini cream sauce. It turned out wonderfully. Thank you for all your suggestions on uses for nettles.

    -Adam

  11. Brilliant! It’s nettle season and I’ve been dying to go forage. What a lovely and creative recipe.

  12. Cook In: Sometimes. But the bugs all die when you boil the nettles in water. Easier to remove when dead and floating…

    Bob: I use the leaves and tender stems.

  13. These look great. I’ve been cooking nettles lots and mixing with ricotta as a pasta filling but I really like the look of your mascarpone and potato version.

  14. Those ravioli look delicious. When you use fresh nettles, do you ever have problems cleaning them? Last year, I bought a bunch of nettles from a farmers market and when I got them home to start cooking with them, they were so covered with little bugs that I ended up tossing them, since, after multiple rinsings, it was clear I wasn’t going to get them clean. Haven’t tried buying them again since then.

  15. Yummmm these look good and the bright green is the epitome of Spring! Ours will be ready in about a week. I’m not so sure about the potatoes, but I’m definitely making these with homemade ricotta inside. Thanks for the tip!

  16. Exceptional. Thanks Hank. Nettles represent one of those ingredients that can be quintessential to every spring-time dish. Making pasta with, and ravioli to boot, is truly inspiring.

  17. I’ve been meaning to make this, the nettles round where I live are au point, right now, young and tender, and every day on my walks I think about making something like this…..time for action!

  18. Great idea. We have plenty of nettle and this will add to our recipes. My wife dries the nettle and makes tea to help with allergies at this time.