Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild garlic pesto ingredients on white stoneware tableware

Moreish stirred through pasta, the perfect accompaniment to roast chicken, white fish, and new potatoes. Wild Garlic Pesto is a thing of beauty; the short season makes it all the more special. Typically something to make in spring (February to April), I look forward to using wild garlic in my cooking every year. I know it sounds a bit twee, but tuning into the rhythm of the seasons really makes me happy.

My love of seasonal cooking comes from my Dad. He has always grown vegetables at home, and it’s such a privilege. I have many fond memories of preserving tomatoes during the summer months because no family could ever eat that many, so we had to preserve as many as we could. My fingers would sting from the acidity of the tomato juice, and they’d turn slightly orange and wrinkly. It was a messy job, often done outdoors in the late afternoon, but the joy of eating them through the winter made it all worth it. You could literally taste sunshine in those jars! Seasonality is etched into my DNA, which is why I look forward to little rituals like buying wild garlic from the farm shop when it’s in season. That said, you’ll find wild garlic frozen all year round from Waitrose. I find it works best used in scones or as a flavoured butter in its frozen form.

I’m an instinctive and creative cook, so I’m usually not very precise. I eyeball almost everything, much to my husband’s dismay. That approach doesn’t exactly work when you are sharing a recipe, so here is a precise ingredient list and method.

Ingredients:

  • 150g wild garlic leaves
  • 50g parmesan or vegetarian alternative, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ lemon, zested and a squeeze of juice to taste
  • 50g pine nuts, toasted
  • 150ml rapeseed oil

jar of wild garlic pesto with a bowl of burrata topped with the pesto in the foreground

Method:

Step 1

Rinse and roughly chop the wild garlic leaves if you are using fresh wild garlic. If you are using frozen, you’ll need a couple of packets.

Step 2

Blitz the wild garlic leaves in a food processor (I use a Nutribullet) together with the parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, pine nuts, and almost all the oil. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Step 3

If you’re not using it straight away, transfer the pesto to a clean jar and top up with the remaining rapeseed oil to preserve it.  It should keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, although I’d be surprised if it lasts this long! 

This pesto is incredibly versatile. Stir it through pasta for a quick and easy dinner, dollop on roasted chicken for an extra burst of flavour, or mix it with new potatoes for a delicious side dish. My ultimate guilty pleasure is wild garlic pesto served with burrata – the ultimate match made in heaven! 

 

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