Join Me For Dinner: Wild Garlic Pesto Pasta

As a keen cook, I thought (despite my association with baking) it was about time I start sharing savoury recipes for fresh and simple meals I like to cook for myself and my family.

For my first ‘Join Me For Dinner‘ post, I will be sharing my recipe for a simple but absolutely delicious wild garlic pasta with a very special smoked ham (I picked the garlic for this meal just yesterday, so it’s super fresh!).

This seasonal dish works brilliantly at this time of year as wild garlic is growing in abundance (you can find it in patches of woodland and near rivers), but if you don’t have access to it or discover this recipe a little late, just use a basil pesto instead, but try to make it from scratch (you’ll never go back!).

Wild garlic has a really subtle flavour and enticing scent which pairs well with lots of different ingredients; for example, you could use this pesto to coat a chicken breast, rub into a slow roasted leg of lamb or just spread onto bruschetta.

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So, on with the pesto recipe (makes 2 jars)

You will need: 2 very large bunches wild garlic leaves, 1 bunch spinach, 80g pine nuts, 100g finely grated parmesan, a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, 4tbsp olive oil

Simply place all these ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth- it’s that easy!

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Now, for the pasta dish (which served 4) you will need: 150g smoked ham/another good quality thick cut ham (I sourced mine from No2 Pound Street in Wendover, Bucks), 4 servings tagliatelle pasta (my next aim is to make my own, but this time I used shop bought), 3 heaped tbsp wild garlic pesto, 100g sun dried tomatoes, 250g fresh cherry tomatoes, handful pine nuts, sprinkling parmesan cheese

Pop your tagliatelle in a saucepan of boiling water and leave to cook for the recommended time.

Heat a tablespoon olive oil in a large pan (high heat) and add your cherry tomatoes, halved.

Once the tomatoes begin to soften (after a couple of minutes), add the sun dried variety and toss in the oil. Now throw in your ham (chopped into small pieces) and continue to move about the pan.

Drain your pasta and add to the hot pan of tomatoes and ham with another tablespoon of olive oil and the pesto. Toss through the pesto and other ingredients until the tagliatelle is a bright green colour throughout (so you know all the components are well combined).

Serve up a heap of the steaming pesto pasta in a bowl and top with a sprinkling of pine nuts and some parmesan shavings.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, wild garlic is so worth making the most of if you have access to it- it’s delicious (and free!).

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