While everyone is going nuts about wild garlic, it seems a shame not to show you a dish using the wild garlic pesto we made last week. This is among simplest of all pasta dishes, and it just uses the principle of flavouring with pesto, and then garnishing with some of the unprocessed ingredients of the same thing. The pine nuts add much-needed crunch.
This dish benefits from the use of fresh pasta, but dried is fine. Just remember not to chuck out the pasta water as you need it for a successful sauce.
There is no history lesson today, because we invented this version of pasta di aglio orsino.
Spaghetti con aglio orsino
- For the wild garlic pesto:
- 3 handfuls fresh wild garlic leaves
- 1 handful pine nuts, very lightly toasted in a frying pan
- 1 good handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Extra virgin or vintage olive oil (the very best you can get)
- For the pasta:
- 2 medium eggs
- 200g Petra 7220 Granpasta flour (or 150g plain flour and 50g semolina)
- Semolina for dusting the work surface
- For the sauce:
- 30g butter
- 1 small handful of pine nuts, toasted
- 1 sprig of basil, chiffonade
- 40g parmesan, grated
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the pesto:
Run a food processor, and put in all the ingredients except the oil.
With the mixer running, slowly add the oil until the mixture gets an oozy consistency. You want to go a little beyond just binding it, but not so far that it is loose. Season.
To make the pasta:
Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl. Tip the bowl out onto your surface and use the bottom of the bowl to create a well in the flour. Crack the eggs into the well and use a dough cutter to gradually chop and work in the eggs to the flour. Once the mixture is gaining nothing from the cutter, use your hands to knead the pasta to the point where a poked finger results in the sprung back pasta ball over less than 10 seconds. Wrap the pasta ball in clingfilm and chill for 20 mins.
Use a pasta machine to roll the pasta quite thin (about setting 7), and then use the spaghetti/tagliarini cutter to make noodles about a foot long. Regularly sprinkle with semolina to stop everything from sticking.
To make the sauce and cook the pasta:
Once you are ready to eat, cook the pasta and make the sauce at the same time. Boil a saucepan of water salted to 'mild seawater' for the pasta. Put the pasta in a blanching basket and plunge into the boiling water for 2 mins until cooked. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan until bubbling. Pull the basket from the water (keep the water!) and tip the pasta into the frying pan. Toss the pasta in the butter to coat. Add 3–4 tbsp of the wild garlic pesto, season and toss to combine.
Add a ladle of the pasta water to loosen everything up a bit and ensure even coating. Toss again, then chuck in the toasted pine nuts, parmesan and the basil. Combine and serve.