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Nettle Pasta with a Sweet Potato and Mushroom Sauce
6 Portions

500g bread flour
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp pesto sauce (optional)
100g nettle tips and leaves

250g sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1 cm cubes
15g dried wild mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, water reserved
150g button mushroom, finely sliced
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 Tbsp sage leaves, shredded
pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp basil leaves, shredded
100g creme fraiche

40g pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbsp Parmesan shavings

Wash the nettle well and place it in saucepan with just enough
boiling water to cover it. Allow the nettles to cook in simmering
water for a couple of minutes until the leaves are wilted and tender
like spinach. Remove the nettles from the water and refresh them
in cold water. Puree it in a food processor with the olive oil and
Pesto until you have a smooth puree. Remove the puree from the food
processor and set aside.

Place all the ingredients including the pureed nettle in a food
processor and process it until you have a breadcrumbs like consistency.
Tip the mixture out onto a work surface and bring together with
your hands so that you have a ball of dough. If it is to dry add
a little water and if to wet add some more flour. Knead the mixture
for a couple of minutes until it has some elasticity. Make the
dough into 4 balls and cover them with cling film and place it in
the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

By Hand: Place the flour out onto a work top and make a well in
the centre. In a bowl beat the egg, oil and nettle (finely chop
the nettle to a puree) together, pour this mixture into the well
in the centre of the flour. Using your your hands bring the flour
into the egg mixture and gradually combine it until you have a
dough. Knead the dough for couple of minutes until it is firm and
has elasticity. Make the dough into 4 balls, cover them with cling
film and place them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and starting with one ball
of dough roll it out so that it is around 1cm-1.5 cm thick. Set a
pasta machine to the lowest setting and pass the pasta through it
3 times. Then set the pasta machine to a higher setting and pass
it through, then reduce the setting and repeat the process to the
last or second last setting so that the pasta is very thin and
long. If the pasta comes sticky dust it with a little flour. Cut
the sheet of pasta in half and pass each sheet through the fettuccine
setting on your pasta machine. Hang the pasta up on a wooden pasta
holder or weighted broom handle. Repeat this process with the
remaining pasta.

Bring a large pot of boiling water to the boil and place the pasta
in it and cook it for around 2 minutes until al dente.

Place the reserved mushroom water in a saucepan over a moderate-high
heat and bring it to the boil. Place the sweet potatoes in the
stock and leave them to simmer for 5-7 minutes until they are
tender. Strain the sweet potato from the stock and set aside while
you finish the sauce. Return the stock to the saucepan and allow
it to reduce on a strong simmer until their is only a little liquid
left (around 80-100ml).

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan over a
moderate heat. When melted add the garlic, sage leaves, chilli
(optional), wild mushrooms and button mushrooms and cook them for
5-8 minutes, stirring regularly until tender. Stir in the spring
onions, basil, sweet potato and creme fraiche into the mushroom
mixture until well combined.

Remove the sauce from and toss the pasta in it until the sauce is
well distributed throughout the pasta. Serve.

Distribute the pasta among 4-6 bowls and scatter over the pine nuts
and Parmesan. Serve.


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