Stinging nettles have a lovely aromatic flavour and distinctive fragrance, so they're great for making vibrant green tagliatelle, dressed here with sage.






Skill level

Average: 2.9 (4 votes)


  • 200 g (7 oz) stinging nettles (see Note)
  • 400 g (14 oz) 00 flour or plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • superfine semolina (semola rimacinata), for dusting
  • 180 g (6½ oz) unsalted butter, diced
  • 24 sage leaves
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • grated parmesan, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time: 30 minutes

  1. Wearing gloves, pick the leaves and smaller stems from the nettles, discarding any thicker stems and damaged leaves. Wash in plenty of cold water and pat dry. You should have about 150 g (5½ oz) left. Plunge the nettles into a saucepan of boiling water, then drain the leaves in a colander. Rinse them in cold water and leave to cool, then wring them out with your hands (no gloves needed) and chop finely.
  2. To make the pasta, place a mound of flour on your work surface and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the well and start whisking the eggs gently with the tines of a fork, incorporating a bit of flour at a time. Drop in the finely chopped nettles as you combine the flour and eggs. Keep whisking with the fork, making an ever-widening circle as you incorporate more flour and the nettles. The mixture will eventually become too thick for you to use the fork, so start using your fingertips, working the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until you have used up most of the dry ingredients and a ball of dough forms. You may need to add a bit of water or flour to get the right consistency. Kneed for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cover with an upturned bowl and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes, then roll out and shape as desired.
  3. Make the tagliatelle by running the pasta through your pasta machine until it is the desired thickness (I took mine to the third-last setting of my machine), using superfine semolina for dusting. Cut the dough using the tagliatelle attachment, then dust with more semolina and cover with a tea towel until you are ready to cook.
  4. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for a few minutes until al dente.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook for a couple of minutes, just until they become fragrant.
  6. Drain the pasta and place on a serving dish. Pour on the sage butter and sprinkle over the lemon zest, salt, pepper and plenty of grated parmesan.



• Stinging nettles can be purchased from health-food shops and online. If handling the raw plant, be sure to wear gloves. Once cooked, their stinging effect is removed and they are safe to touch.



Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00