Wild garlic pesto pasta is the ultimate spring foraged treat, vibrant bold flavours are at the heart of this twist on an Italian classic.
This quick dinner comes together in the same amount of time that it takes to cook some pasta making it a perfect midweek dinner!
Wild Garlic Pesto
For me, one of the finest ways to use wild garlic is in a wild garlic pesto.
There is of course nothing wrong with basil pesto, it is fantastic! You can find my recipe for it in this pesto pasta with goat cheese, I’ve also got a French pistou recipe for the classic dish, soupe au pistou.
There is never a binary choice in food, there is always room for more, to that end I even make a pea pesto pasta!
On that note, this goat cheese and pesto pizza uses a rocket pesto and it ain’t always green! This pesto alla Trapanese uses almonds and sun-dried tomatoes as does the pesto I use in my halloumi pasta recipe.
This recipe is super quick and will go from your kitchen cupboard to your table in under 20 minutes.
As for preparation chuck it in a blender and hit the button!
And the pinch of sugar? Well, that is a tip I picked up from watching Massimo Bottura and it is genius. It just counteracts that slight bitterness of the herbs!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does wild garlic have any other names?
Yes, it is also known as ramsons, buckrams, and broadleaf garlic to name but a few.
When is wild garlic in season?
In the UK wild garlic is in season from early-mid March through to the end of April and sometimes into June.
What does wild garlic taste like?
Unsurprisingly wild garlic tastes like, erm, garlic, but it is a little brighter and lighter in flavour.
It can be used in everything from salads through to sauces and is a real treat.
Do I have to use pine nuts?
They are traditional in a pesto but they are expensive and you can sub them out if you want to be a little more frugal.
Everything from sunflower seeds to hazelnuts and walnuts make interesting additions to a pesto.
Why do you transfer your pesto from a blender to a pestle and mortar?
A blender will chop the leaves of the wild garlic but pounding them in a pestle and mortar bruises them and makes them release more flavour.
So essentially I let the blender do all of th heavy lifting and pound in a little more flavour at the end.
Your main choice when it comes to this wild garlic pesto dish is what type of pasta to serve it with.
I’ve chosen rigatoni here but it works equally well with longer pasta types like spaghetti or linguini. This is one of those dishes where you could pretty much use whatever you have in the cupboard.
When it comes to sides I keep it simple as I do with most of my pasta recipes.
The only thing I add to this recipe is bread, I’d usually opt for some focaccia or ciabatta to mop up that beautiful sauce.
I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 20cm or 8″ Saucepan.
- 20cm or 8″ frying pan.
- Mini blender and or pestle and mortar.
- Stirring and serving spoons.
- Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
The season for wild garlic is short but truly magical, this wild garlic pesto pasta is the perfect fast spring/summer recipe. Cooking just 10 minutes with 10 minutes prep means it is a fast, vibrant and beautiful seasonal recipe.
- 175g (6oz) Short Pasta
- 50g (1½-2 Cups) Wild Garlic
- 20g (⅓-½ Cup) Fresh Parsley
- Pinch of Sugar
- ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
- 35g (⅓ Cup) Parmesan Cheese
- 75ml (⅓ Cup) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 35g (¼ Cup) Pine Nuts
- 75g (¾ Cup) Gorgonzola Cheese
- Salt for cooking the pasta plus extra to taste.
- Bring a 20cm or 8" saucepan of salted water (I use 1½ teaspoons of water in a pan this size) and cook the pasta until it is al dente.
- Place a 20cm or 8" frying pan on a medium heat and toast the pinenuts for 2-3 minutes, then transfer them to mini blender.
- Add the wild garlic, parsley, pinch of sugar, black pepper, parmesan cheese and olive oil and pulse to form a nice pesto. I like to transfer it to a pestle and mortar at this stage and give it a pounding to really get the oils flowing.
- Have a taste of the pesto and add more salt if required.
- Drain the pasta (reserving a little of the cooking water) and whilst it is steaming hot stir through the pesto, half of the gorgonzola cheese and a little of the pasta cooking water.
- Serve with the rest of the blue cheese as a garnish.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1078Total Fat: 86gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 62gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 1048mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 23g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.