The Essential Herbal Blog: Handmade Stinging Nettle Pasta

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First I’ll talk about how to make these, and then if you want to stick around and read about Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) there will be information after the recipe.

 

This was my second attempt.  A year or more ago I tried and it wasn’t terribly successful.  After thinking for a long time about it, the method came together in my head.  Today the nettles called.  The staying home due to COVID-19 was dragging me down, so I answered the call gladly! On the way there (there being the side of the house), I found dandelions, violets, and cherry blossoms – spring pasta supreme!

Recipe:
2 c flour (I used all-purpose)
1 extra large egg
1/3 cup liquified nettle
1/2 tsp salt
violet and dandelion petals (optional)

To liquify the nettle, I put about three cups of leaves from the tips of the plant into a Magic Bullet type blender and added about 2 tablespoons of water.  It required several times of stopping, stirring, and hitting it again.  Skim any foam that forms.  There will be a lot of mud-like solids, and that goes into the pasta.

Put the flour out on a surface – I covered my counter with freezer paper.  Mound and make a hole in the center of the flour.  Pour the egg and nettle juice into that indentation, and start mixing with your hands.  This is why there are no pictures of this process.  My hands were full of dough.  If you need more liquid, add water 1 tablespoon at a time. 

Once the dough starts coming together, begin kneading it. Add any flower petals during the kneading. Continue for about 10 minutes.
Separate the dough into 2 or 3 sections.  Form them into balls and wrap tightly.  Allow the dough to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

At this point, you can begin rolling it out, or – if you’re very lucky – you can use the pasta machine to roll it out.  Even using the machine, I’m afraid I didn’t roll it thin enough.  Still good though!
Cut it into strips about 10″ long.  I have a snazzy pasta dryer now, but last year I was using thick plastic clothes hangers hooked over the knobs on my upper cabinets.

You can cook it right away, or dry it to store for later use.  I can’t find any good information on dried pasta and how long it can be stored.  The key seems to be in the pasta being completely dried.  Many people freeze it.  So if you’re going to use it within a week or two, refrigerate.  Freeze if it will be longer.  Personally, I’ll probably try to thoroughly dry it and see what happens.  Maybe the dehydrator.  Next time, I will change 2 things. 
#1 roll the pasta thinner
#2 add several garlic mustard leaves.  Maybe a small handful.

What’s so great about Stinging Nettles?  Glad you asked.  The following is from the original unedited manuscript of Healing Herbs…

Stinging Nettle really is good for you!  It contains tannic acid, lecithin, chlorophyll, iron, silica, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium, and vitamins A and C.  The dried leaves contain up to 40% protein, so adding the powdered, dried leaves to smoothies, soups, stews, and a thousand other dishes can boost their nutritional content. 
Leaves and aerial parts of Stinging Nettle are the most used part of the plant.  Some of the talents nettles bring include being diuretic, astringent, pectoral, anodyne, tonic, styptic, nutritive, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, decongestant, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine, herpetic, galactagogue, and anti-histamine. 
It is often a first line of defense against seasonal allergies.  Taken with a local honey, nettle can shush away mild to moderate symptoms.  It is best to begin use of stinging nettle before allergy season gets underway.
Nettle is used in cases of internal and external bleeding and also helps fight anemia and the fatigue that accompanies anemia due to its available iron content and the vitamin C that helps with absorption.
Inflammatory diseases like arthritis, gout, rheumatism, and soft tissue conditions such as fibromyalgia and tendonitis may find pain relief from daily use. Auto-immune disorders that include joint pain also respond favorably to nettle use.  Nettle contains a healthy quantity of the trace mineral boron, which is important to helping bones retain calcium. 
Effective as a mouthwash against gingivitis and mouth sores, it helps with sore throats and strengthens all mucus membranes, can assist with acid reflux, symptoms of Celiac disease, gas, colitis, nausea, and swollen hemorrhoids.
The endocrine system including thyroid, spleen, and pancreas is supported by this amazing weed as well.
Nettle is a wonderful spring tonic that helps in the elimination of the metabolic wastes that build up during a winter of being indoors, gently stimulating the lymph system and encouraging the kidneys to move things along efficiently. 

Add that to a bowl of pasta, and suddenly it’s a health food!

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