106. Wild Garlic Linguine
Wild Garlic is back!! I checked a couple of weeks ago just before the cold spell and there were tiny leaves poking through the bank next to the lane at my favourite local foraging spot, but they needed a little more time. I forgot to check back then my friend Helen suddenly messaged asking if I wanted a bag she'd picked in the woods, so I'm now in my first throws of this years garlic frenzy and loving it. A couple of nights ago we sautéed a big handful of leaves with other greens; chard, kale, hispi cabbage and spinach with some chilli and anchovies. Lovely. But last night with not much left in the fridge we had it with pasta, cream and bacon. Pure comfort.
Ingredients: For 2 big portions!
250g spaghetti or linguine
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon
5 spring onions, chopped into 1cm pieces
1 fat clove of garlic, crushed
80ml masala or vermouth, or you can just use white wine
150ml double cream
2 big handfuls of wild garlic leaves, washed and roughly chopped
50g parmesan, finely grated
Put a big pot of water on the heat and once it's boiling add a tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Meanwhile roughly chop the bacon and begin to fry it in a medium frying pan over a low heat to render the fat properly. Once a little fat has released add the spring onions and keep cooking until the bacon is turning golden and the onions have softened then add the crushed garlic and stir it in for about 15 seconds to soften. Turn the heat up to high and pour on the masala - once it's bubbling turn the heat back to medium and leave to reduce for about 3 minutes until the wine has thickened. Pour on the cream and bring to a simmer for another minute then turn off the heat.
Once the pasta has had 5 minutes (or half way through the cooking time) add all the wild garlic and stir into the water. Continue cooking until the pasta is al-dente and just about ready. Remove a cup full of cooking water and keep to one side then drain the pasta and garlic leaves in a colander and return to the pan. Pour on the cream and bacon sauce, scraping it all in with a spatula, add the cheese and toss everything together.
Place the pan over a low heat and add a little cooking water to loosen the sauce, maybe half a cup so the consistency is that of single cream, mix well, taste and season with salt and plenty of pepper. Be careful with the seasoning as the cooking water will already make it a bit salty. Pile into big warm bowls and tuck in.