tagliatelle with wild garlic and asparagus pesto

the wild garlic season is almost over and, having added it to a spelt risotto and a sausage pasta dish i decided that something with a longer life-span was needed so i could keep enjoying it for a bit longer. it’s also asparagus season and, as a nod to frugality, i’ve been keeping the slightly woody ends which are normally cut-off and discarded. bring these two together and the idea for wild garlic and asparagus pesto was born.

i decided to use toasted walnuts as the nutty component and a hard goats cheese in place of the more traditional parmesan. the resulting pesto has a wonderful mix of flavours and the walnuts are a good foil to the strong but delicate garlic flavour. i’m hoping that the jar i froze will still be okay in a few weeks.

in meantime we ate half of the first jar with tagliatelle and the remaining jar and a half that are still in the fridge are destined for a wild garlic pesto 1000 layer lasagne or, mixed with a little ricotta and used to stuff some ravioli. i’ve been meaning to make the lasagne for a week now but everything seems to be conspiring against me as food has taken a back seat to sorting out various house-related tasks. things should be back to normal next week and hopefully cooking, and blogging, will become a bit more regular again.

wild garlic, walnut and asparagus pesto (makes 3 small jars)

50g walnuts (you can use any nut, including the traditional choice of pine nuts)

100g wild garlic leaves

olive oil

200g asparagus, cooked until just tender (steam the tips for something else and just use the woodier ends)

50g grated cheese – i used a hard goats cheese, parmesan would be a good alternative

salt & pepper

toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan over a low heat, until they start to smell nutty. remove from the heat and leave to cool.

in a small food processor, blitz together the walnuts until they have a texture similar to breadcrumbs. add c25ml olive oil, the wild garlic leaves and asparagus (you may need to do this in stages, with regular blitzing in between to break everything down) and blitz until you get a pesto-like texture. at various stages you’ll probably need to add more oil to loosen the mix.

put the mix in a bowl, stir in the parmesan and season to taste. place in sterilised jars and cover the top of the pesto with a little more oil so that the air can’t get in and turn it mouldy! store in the fridge and use within a few weeks.