Wild Garlic Pesto

I love pesto and that made with wild garlic is a brilliant way to make the most of this wonderful wild food. 

You can experiment as much as you like with different ingredients - follow your heart. Unless you add something really weird, it's unlikely it'll go wrong. 

This recipe worked really well for me. I'm obsessed with wild garlic pesto pasta at the moment, and hopefully I'll be so sick of it that when the wild garlic season ends, I won't be too distraught. 

INGREDIENTS

  • Big bunch of wild garlic (approx 200g), washed and drained
  • Small bunch of parsley
  • Small clove of garlic, optional (careful you don't add too much. It's for a bit of extra body but it'll still be lush without it)
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted
  • 80g Parmesan or Grana Padano (other hard cheeses will also work)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Good olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

Get a big pan of water on the boil and get another container full of cold water with ice (we never have ice in the house so I half-fill the sink with cold water and add more cold water to keep it cool).

Add wild garlic in batches and blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds before removing and refreshing in the cold water.

Once it's all blanched, put the wild garlic in a colander and bit by bit, squeeze handfuls of it to remove as much excess water as possible. Repeat with the parsley and squeeze dry.

Add everything to a food processor and pulse until it's well blended. Then add the lemon zest and pine nuts and pulse again until it's all uniform in colour and texture. While it's mixing, slowly drizzle the olive oil in until it's glossy – you don't want it too runny, so be careful. Spoon into cooled sterilised jars and refrigerate.

For me, wild garlic pesto pasta is a dish of dreams. Buy some decent pasta (something like fusilli or spirals so the sauce sticks to it, I'd avoid tubes like penne as it's hard to get the pesto inside).

It'll keep for a week in the fridge, a bit longer if you're lucky.

TIP: freezing wild garlic once it's been blanched and blended in the food processor is a great way to extend the season. You can freeze the blended leaves in ice cube trays and use them in wild garlic pesto, or stir into sauces.