Wild Garlic Pesto is a classic use of the bountiful Wild Garlic leaves in the Spring. I am always on the look out for new uses for it. Here are some new and old ideas:
- Toss through pasta, gnocci or veg
- Swirl on top of soups
- Use on bruschetta or crostini
- Spread on bread with hummus
- Stuff or coat chicken or fish – as is or mixed with butter
- Use as a salad dressing
- Mix in to mashed potato or potato salad
- Use as a dip
- Put on prawns
- Bake into your favourite bread dough
- Put on baked potato
- Try as a sandwich filling
- Wild garlic cheese scones!
- Stir into risotto
- Add a spoonful to egg dishes like an omelette or frittata
Feeling inspired the other day, I made up my own recipe “Wild Garlic Pesto and Tomato Pasta Bake” – recipe below. Serve with a nice green salad – ideally foraged!
Read more about Wild Garlic – finding, season, id, other uses etc. here.
Wild Garlic Pesto
Pick your favourite recipe from the many online or adapt the below. The below is vegetarian-friendly omitting Parmesan cheese. It is a recipe that you can freely tweak to your own personal tastes. You can freeze the sauce in ice-cube containers, which will then give you a supply of this wonderful pesto throughout the year. Alternatively, it will keep in a jar in the fridge for a couple of months if covered with a layer of oil.
Serves 4 – 6
- 50g pinenuts
- 75g hazelnuts (or all walnuts)
- 175ml extra virgin olive oil
- 150g fresh very young tender garlic leaves
- 2 tbsps lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Options / Alternatives:
- Nuts – cashews, almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts in place of the pinenuts
- Oil – Olive, Rapeseed or Sunflower
- Cheese – Parmesan, hard goats cheese or even a strong cheddar
- If you prefer your pesto a little crunchy you can add the nuts at the end and blend a little more
- Wash and dry the wild garlic leaves.
- In a food processor crush the pine nuts and hazelnuts roughly and then decant them into a bowl and set aside.
- Puree the wild garlic leaves with a pinch of salt with the olive oil just enough to break up the leaves to a rough texture.
- Add the lemon juice and mix.
- Pour the wild garlic mixture into the crushed nuts and stir in.
- Season to taste.
Pesto Pasta Bake
- 400g pasta e.g. Penne
- 1 – 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 – 2 cups of cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)
- 1 onion, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C Fan/Gas mark 6.
- Get some hot water heating up for the pasta.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil and gently cook the onion with a pinch of salt for 4-5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and turn down the heat. Gently simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile cook the pasta in a pan of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions.
- Once cooked, drain and pour into the pan with the tomato mixture.
- Add the pesto and some of the cheese and mix well.
- Pour this into a medium-sized ovenproof baking dish. Top with the rest of the cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbling and golden.