While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where you might find wild garlic on your doorstep, there is a good chance you’ll have some growing somewhere near you right now. It is well worth seeking out as its flavour is incredible in salads and pasta and, best of all, it’s free!
You find wild garlic in the shade of woodland floors and in the shade of parkland trees and grows in abundance, almost in blankets. Just be wary of other plants growing in the same space when you pick the leaves. More information on how to gather and identify can be easily found online. There is also a very good book, ‘Hedgerow’ by John Wright, which can tell you more about what is abundant at what time of year.
Ingredients for 4:
Large handful of Wild Garlic leaves and flowers, well washed
Broad Beans, shelled and blanched in water for 2 minutes
Parmesan or Pecorino to make vegetarian
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
500g Pasta, any shape
Any other vegetables to garnish. I used asparagus.
Take a proportion of each of the ingredients (minus the pasta) and blitz in a food processor. Taste and adjust. You want there to be a lot of flavour and for each of them to come through harmoniously. Remember that it wants to be almost over-seasoned to make up for the blandness of the pasta. Add enough oil for it to become a thick sauce.
Boil the pasta until al-dente, about 8 minutes dependent on shape, and add to a large bowl containing the pesto. Try to take a little of the water with you, which will emulsify with the oil and cheese and create a loose enough sauce to coat the pasta. If it still looks a little stodgy, add a little more of the pasta water.