After nearly three years on our spring bowls menu, languishing unpicked and almost forgotten, nettle and sorrel ravioli with chilli and chive oil was finally chosen by a couple celebrating their wedding this week.
The nettles in the field next to our garden have just last week started to show themselves and our red veined sorrel has just enough leaves to impart its lemony zing.
Nettles are like spinach and reduce in volume by two thirds at least so you need a fair bagful to get any decent amount
Nettle and sorrel, chill and chive oil
Nettles - four good handfuls
Sorrel - one handful
1 leek - Finely chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
Zest from one lemon
1 red chilli
250g 00 flour
3 egg yolks - lightly mixed
100g spinach - wilted in a dry pan and liquid squeezed out
First make the pasta, a food processor is quickest, chuck in the flour, a pinch of salt and the spinach. With the motor still running drizzle in the egg yolk till the consistency is like bread crumbs (all the egg may not be needed). Stop the mixer, put the contents on a surface and bring together for a couple of mins, cling film and fridge.
Next gently fry the garlic and leek till they are soft and sweet and chuck in the nettles and sorrel. Cook until the nettles are just tender. Turn off the heat, chuck in lemon zest and a fair bit of grated parmesan. When cool roughly chop on a board or pulse in a food processor till small but not a puree. Let the mix cool in the fridge.
Put a few glugs of oil in a pan with a fine dice of red chilli and let it tick over on the hob as low as possible and for as long as possible before you chuck in chopped chives and pour over the pasta.
Now at this stage you basically have to get the filling into the pasta in such a way that it will stay there during the cooking process. Flying saucer shaped ravioli work for us this time