Making natural green colored pasta is traditional in many parts of Italy. In the Emilian part of the Emilia-Romagna region (Piacenza, Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Modena, Ferrara and most of the metropolitan city of Bologna) spinach and young swiss chard is used to color the dough.
In the Ligurian region and lower part of the Piedmontese region (the provinces of Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo) borrage is used to color the dough green.
In the spring, these as well as other fresh pasta making regions use young and tender nettle leaves to give their dough a natural green color.
Remember that one of the founding principles of Italian cooking is that people cooked with what they had readily available: so it was ALWAYS fresh, local and seasonal. Cooking this way also makes it more tasty, more nutritious, less costly and sustainable. That's a win-win for everyone!
While I do provide quantities, it really is up to you: it depends on your personal preference. Generally we use 100g of fresh spinach or young swiss chard leaves per every 100g of flour, plus one egg. If using frozen greens, use 30g of frozen spinach or young swiss chard leaves per 50g of flour.
If using fresh borrage or nettle leaves, plan on using 50g of fresh leaves for every 100g of flour plus one egg.
The amounts in ounces are as follows:
50g = 1.76oz
25g = .88oz
Serving size: plan on one 100g of flour per person. When making green dough, have an extra 50-60g of flour on hand, just in case it is needed. See notes below.
1. Before you use the vegetable, you must wash it, cook it and remove as much water as possible.
2. Then you mince it, either by hand with a knife or in a food processor. If using a food processor, you get better results if you add the eggs in as well.
3. You make a well and add the egg and minced vegetable.
4. Work in the flour a bit at a time, proceeding as you normally would when making fresh pasta.
5. Keep adding flour until you obtain a nice and bouncy ball of dough.
**It is of utmost importance to have more flour than you think you might need on hand because the cooked vegetable adds some moisture to the dough and you will need to add flour to the dough until you have a nice and bouncy ball of dough. It is practically impossible to know beforehand exactly how much flour you'll need. I like to keep about 60g extra on hand per every egg's worth of dough I'm preparing. **
green pasta dough, green pasta, natural green dough