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The future's bright. The future's green.

Going to your Mum’s house in your 30s is essentially one big exercise in her trying to palm off unwanted household items onto you.

No, I don’t want an iron Mum. But yes, I’ll take another pasta maker (three are never enough).

In other semi-related news, the aforementioned pasta maker inspired this week’s recipe of spaghetti with wild garlic pesto and pangrattato. This green pesto is bright, vivid, and crammed full of flavour.

This week’s album: 
Sometimes I Might Be Introvert by Little Simz

An incredible artist, and also a very good actor (see the new season of Top Boy), who has featured here before. This more recent album is as good as, if not better than, her debut one. One review called it: “a timeless project. One which, arguably, cements Little Simz as one of the greatest artists the UK Kingdom has ever produced.”

Two signs of Spring

Wild garlic, along with rhubarb, is one of the earliest signs that winter is behind us and good things (veggies, rosés, and uncontrollable sweating in the tube) are on their way.

Wild garlic usually starts to appear mid-March and grows in abundance until May. It’s become pretty popular in recent years. Partly because it’s stocked in more shops and online and partly because it’s easy to find if you’re foraging in shady and damp woodland areas (those are the perfect conditions for wild garlic to grow).

If you do forage then look out for broad and pointed green leaves with white and star-shaped flowers. And obviously a pungent smell of garlic.

To make the most of wild garlic we’re going to make a pesto from the leaves (along with some extra basil and parsley, and pine nuts and parmesan). Although the flavour of wild garlic is a lot less potent than normal garlic, it does still pack a punch so the extra herbs will balance the pesto.

Basil provides a wonderful floral note that we’re all familiar with, and the parsley gives an earthiness that works well alongside the wild garlic. As this is a ‘raw’ sauce, using top quality extra-virgin olive oil is strongly encouraged as the absence of heat means that its true flavour will really shine through.

To make this a super speedy recipe I’ve suggested making the pesto with a food processor. If you prefer to use a pestle and mortar then add everything in the same order as I’ve suggested, mashing everything down to a paste each time.

What you need

The below serves 2. It takes 10 mins to prep, then 15 mins to cook.

2 slices of day-old bread
200-220g spaghetti
(or other dried pasta)
30g wild garlic (leaves picked, stalks discarded)
20g basil (leaves picked, stalks discarded)
20g parsley (leaves picked, stalks discarded)
30g pine nuts
30g parmesan
50g extra-virgin olive oil
(best quality)
¼ lemon (juice only)
Sea salt & black pepper

Ready, steady, cook

1. Tear or cut your bread into smaller pieces. Use a food processor to blitz them into breadcrumbs.

2. Place a frying pan on a medium heat. Heat 2 tbsps of olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add your breadcrumbs and a good sprinkle of sea salt. Sauté, stirring regularly, for about 6-8 mins (or until everything is dry and golden). This is your pangrattato. When done, transfer to a plate so it cools down. Wipe out your frying pan with kitchen paper.

TIP: it’s important to stir/toss regularly, to ensure even toasting, and to be patient. Keep a close eye on the colour and don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to speed up the process. We’re aiming for an even golden-brown.

3. Place a large pot of salted water on to boil.

4. Pick and wash the wild garlic, basil, and parsley leaves. Place them all into a small food processor and blend until the leaves are broken down. Add the pine nuts and blend again to form a coarse paste. Add the parmesan, lemon juice, some freshly ground black pepper, and a good pinch of sea salt. Briefly blend again. Finally, gradually add in the olive oil and blend until a pesto forms. Check the seasoning (adjusting the salt and acidity to your desire) and set aside.

5. Add your pasta to the boiling water and set a timer according to the packet instructions for ‘al dente’. Stir every so often to avoid the pasta sticking to itself.

6. While the pasta cooks, transfer the pesto to the frying pan (keeping it off the heat) and loosen it with some of the pasta cooking water.

7. When the timer goes off, transfer the pasta (using tongs) from the boiling water to the pesto. Toss the pan vigorously to coat the pasta in the sauce. Add a little more of the cooking water to loosen the sauce if needed. You’re after a silky sauce, not something dry.

8. Transfer to warmed plates/bowls and finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a good scattering of pangrattato.

Final thought

It’s best to cook this dish asap as wild garlic’s flavour changes towards the end of the season, with the leaves becoming slightly woody and more bitter.

Same time next week.


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Tag your dishes with #eatmywordslondon, or hit reply to this email with a photo.


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Eat My Words · Kew Gardens · Kew, TW9 · United Kingdom

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