Wild garlic’s brief season is a source of excitement in the Fine Food Specialist office. Orders start to fly out the door as soon as the first crop appears so I wanted to share a really simple but tasty recipe that showcases the pungent leaf. Wild garlic works really well in a pesto and there’s no better home for pesto than a hearty bowl of pasta. Top with juicy prawns to take it from an every-day dish to something special.
Once you’ve tried the recipe, have fun varying the nuts or adding different herbs. Walnuts or pumpkin seeds will both work well, each giving the pesto a distinctive flavour. I suggest using the prawns shells and heads to make a delicious fish stock, which you can freeze for another dish.
- 25g Hazelnuts, toasted
- 25g Pine nuts, toasted
- 100g Wild garlic leaves
- Small handful of flat parsley leaves
- Squeeze of lemon juice (we love Sicilian lemons)
- 50g Parmesan, grated
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- 150g Black tiger prawns, peeled & veins removed (or any prawns you prefer)
- 300g Fresh spaghetti (dry will also work, use 150g)
1. Blanche the wild garlic leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds then plunge into ice cold water to refresh. Gently pat dry on kitchen paper.
2. Put the pine nuts and hazelnuts in the blender along with the wild garlic and parsley. Once you’ve achieved the consistency you want (we like a nice coarse pesto) add a squeeze of lemon juice and few glugs of olive oil to loosen the mixture. Stir through the grated parmesan then taste and season with black pepper.
3. Cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions but remove from the water when the strands are al dente.
4. Meanwhile, five minutes before the spaghetti is ready, heat a frying pan over a medium to high with a glug of olive oil. Add a spoon of pesto to the pan then add the prawns and toss to coat in the pesto. Keep them moving around the pan - they should cook in a few minutes, turning from grey to pink. As soon as they’re ready, add the cooked and drained spaghetti to the pan along with a few more spoons of pesto and stir thoroughly. Scatter with lemon zest and serve immediately.