Thursday, 30 January 2014

Random Recipe - New Year, New Book - 'Spring' pasta without Wild Garlic

January’s  Random Recipe challenge set by the lovely Dom over at Belleau Kitchen tasked us with picking a recipe from a book we’d received for christmas.  I got a fair selection as you can see.  It included the rather wonderful ‘A Curious Cookbook’  - a look at historical recipes from some of the earliest cookery books on record (14th C) right up to wartime (sparrows on toast anyone?) 
Given my record in past Random Recipe challenges (rabbit leg, stuffed carrots &c) I thought I was sure to get that book but my random number generator (the Chap) thankfully picked one of the other books he got me – the Herbs installment of the River Cottage handbook series.  These books always have the recipe section at the back so I flipped it open at that end and got… Spring Pasta with Wild Garlic and Purple Sprouting Broccoli.
Now, although we managed to get some ramsons (wild garlic) on Jan 27th last year I thought that one week into 2014 would be pushing my luck rather.  That's not spring in the UK by any stretch of the imagination.  However, I duly went for a riverside potter on one of the few non-rainy days we had around the middle of the month and found....shoots.  Teeny tiny shoots, that was all so far.  Not a massive surprise.  I gathered the tiniest ‘handful’ (midget hands you understand) of the shoots to give an edge of the garlicky flavour and resigned myself to using the suggested chives that the book mentions can be substituted if you have no wild garlic.
The recipe also uses purple sprouting broccoli.  I’m afraid I have to admit to completely forgetting about that detail so this got made with regular calabrese, a substitution that is also mentioned in the book itself.
Overall I found this a bit too rich with creamy goats cheese smothering everything and an additional grating of parmesan on top.  I find it hard to believe that I’m actually going to type this but, I think it was a little too cheesy.  [Too cheesy!  I know what you’re thinking – how can something ever be too cheesy huh?]  It was too rich from all the cheese, rather than the flavour, is what I think I’m trying to say.  It certainly needed a good squeeze of lemon juice or something to cut through it and lift the flavour a bit; it was all rather samey.  That said I imagine this would be a very different beast with actual wild garlic in it.
It was a nice quick dinner to knock up though and one that's pretty frugal if you make it with regular calabrese and Aldi's goat cheese. :-)
It warrants remembering for when the ramsons finally do unfurl their leaves out of the overflowing river Exe.
The clever ones amongst you will have noticed that I mention the middle of the month earlier in the post yet the date of writing is the somewhat later 30th.  Yep - I actually made my random recipe in good time this month but still didn't get it up before the cut off.  Please let me join in Dom, please...


  1. i too thought i'd never hear the words 'too cheesy' but it happened to me too the other week... it can ruin everything and balance is so important in food... the idea of the dish does sound delicious though and it looks rather lovely and of course I appreciate the effort you went to to find the wild garlic... thanks so much for taking part in random recipes, I have updated the round-up to include your post x

    1. Aw, thank you. I promise to try and get it written up sooner next time! x

  2. Cheese is always too cheesy, in my opinion. Unless it is in Cauliflower Cheese.

    I can't recall when my ramsons appeared last year, they move around my little patch of earth and surprise me each year. I am now awaiting them eagerly.

    What type of pasta is that in your post? I think I might like that; OH keeps serving Fusilli and I am not a great fan but I can't complain.

    1. It's actually pasta hoops which I got a kilo bag of from Approved Foods a while back. I must admit I like the smaller shapes but I've never seen hoops in a dried format for sale anywhere else.
      I can't wait for Ramson season. As for the cheese - we'll have to agree to disagree on that front! :-D

  3. Sounds a fine recipe despite all the cheese. It might just be me but I've found several River Cottage recipes to be very heavy on the cheese. You're very lucky finding the wild garlic shoots. I'd go and look for some in the place nearby where I usually pick wild garlic but it's been under water pretty much continuously since Christmas. I'm hoping that the plants survive.

    1. I'm sure they will survive, where I get mine gets flooded out regularly and has been under water recently this year and I find they seem to thrive on it. Can't wait for them to be fully grown - I need my pesto fix!


I love my comments!!!!
Thank you for reading. I read all my comments and am trying to get better at replying to them too. :-)
Lovely to have you pass by. Be shiny. :-D