Balla’s Agnolotti filled with wild greens


20 cups mixed nettle leaves, borage, cime di rapa already picked from stem, washed and dried
400g fresh ricotta
100g grated parmesan
½ (half) tsp grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
300g “00” pasta flour if available or substitute plain flour
3 large eggs
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in greens for 30-40 seconds (submerge them well with a spoon) and drain well. Let them cool then squeeze as much water out as possible. Finely chop them with a knife and place in a bowl with ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg. Add 2 pinches of salt and some turns of pepper. Mix well and taste for seasoning; adjust if necessary. Cover bowl and refrigerate.

Now make the pasta. Make a well with the flour and crack in the eggs and oil. Bring everything together in a mass. Add a little more flour if too wet and sticky. Cut the pasta dough into smaller workable pieces so it can be easily passed through your pasta machine. Start at the widest setting and roll through thinner each time till you have the desired results- about 1mm thick. Cut sheets into 6cm squares. Fill each square with a heaped teaspoon of nettle/ricotta mixture. Moisten the edges of each pasta square and fold an opposite corner to encase the stuffing in a triangle-shaped pillow. Press edges to secure then finally fold opposite corners in to form a little hat. Cook in plenty of salted, rapidly boiling water until the edges are cooked but still ‘al dente’. Drain and serve by tossing with nettle and tomato salsa. Makes about 80 agnolotti. Serves 10.



10 cups wild green leaves, already picked from stem, washed and dried
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small leek, trimmed and cut into fine half-rounds
1 stick celery from the heart, finely chopped
650g Italian peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 tsp fennel seed
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a pan and gently fry onion, garlic, leek and celery until transparent. Add nettle, tomato and fennel seed. Season with a couple of pinches of salt and some pepper. Stir well and simmer until sauce thickens and most of the water has evaporated. Makes 500ml.