We’re really lucky here because the wild garlic a friend gave us has taken and produces masses of wonderful tasting leaves & flowers. It’s also called ‘Ramsons’ and its latin name is Allium Ursinum. As you latin scholars will know, ursinum refers to bears who like the bulbs.
Wild garlic and ricotta give a twist to simple pasta. Here I’ve cooked pasta and a simple tomato sauce and garnished it with home-made ricotta flavoured with wild garlic.
This is a very simple recipe which will look and taste great without hours of effort.
You’ll need to make the ricotta a few hours ahead of eating it. The rest of the recipe is very quick to assemble.
The quantities serve about 4: here’s how to make it…
Wild garlic and homemade ricotta pasta recipe
2.27l (4 pint container) whole milk (you can use semi-skimmed, the yield will be slightly less and the taste not so pronounced)
100ml distilled white vinegar or white wine vinegar You can also use lemon juice)
Salt to taste
Put your milk into a large (because you’ll need to stir) heavy bottomed (because you need to heat without burning) pan.
Heat the milk on a medium heat until just before it boils (75-90C). Stir gently to make sure the milk doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Do make sure the milk is properly heated. The right temperature helps to ‘denature’ or break down the proteins in the milk so they can curdle more easily.
Take off the heat and add the vinegar or lemon juice and stir so it’s fully mixed. The milk will ‘split’.
Stop stirring and leave to cool. Once cool strain the contents into a container through a sieve, colander, cheesecloth or muslin. You’ll want to allow this to drain for an hour or so.
The solids that are left is your ricotta, add salt to taste. You’ll have around 250-500g depending on the protein content of the milk.
The liquid that is left (whey) can be used in baking biscuits or bread.
I kept this simple because I didn’t want to take away from the taste of the ricotta and wild garlic.
1 large onion finely chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes (or use 1.5kg fresh tomatoes skinned seeded and chopped)
A few dried tomatoes, chopped if large (I used a handful of our own dehydrated cherry tomatoes)
Gently fry the onion in some oilve oil until soft and transparent.
Add the tomatoes & dried tomatoes stir & simmer until thickened to a light coating consistency – about 30-45 minutes. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Wild garlic ricotta
Ricotta (made above)
A small bunch of wild garlic (Allium ursinum). Please make sure you have identified the wild garlic properly! If in doubt use a good field guide or ask someone who you trust that knows what to look for.
Slice the wild garlic finely into thin slivers about 1-2cm long.
Fold through the ricotta gently.
Check seasoning and alter if needed.
Putting it all together
Cook the pasta of your choice until al dente, strain and return to the pan.
Tip in the tomato sauce and mix gently until the pasta is fully coated.
Arrange the pasta artistically or rustically in serving bowls.
Garnish with a generous dollop of wild garlic ricotta.
My recipe first appeared in Permaculture Magazine here. I’ve since amended some of the copy after experimentation. DO visit the site because there’s loads of useful information for people interested in sustainable living and real food. Click here or on the logo in the right hand column.
And please have a look at my Sustainable Foraging Guidelines for tips how to forage responsibly.