Farfalle with Ramson (or Wild Garlic) and Parmesan Cheese


Ramson is a protected plant, so we don’t suggest you pick it. We bought our plant in a garden centre a few years ago and we love using the leaves and the flowers. The taste of the pesto is somewhat advanced, meaning you may want to tweak it if you feel it’s too strong.
Some sources mention that you should only eat the leaves before the plant starts flowering. But then you can’t combine the leaves and the tasty flowers in your dish, so we suggest ignoring that idea. The flowers are (if you’re lucky) just a touch sweet because of the honey in the flower. Simply taste the leaves and the flowers well before using and adjust quantities.
Ramson is much-loved in Germany, Austria (Bärlauch) and other parts of Europe. Its taste is close to chives. It’s a bit like a combination of onion and garlic, but much greener, longer lasting and with a touch of bitterness at the end. Works very well as a pesto, but equally nice with potatoes or gnocchi. Once we had soup of ramson, but that was not the best idea ever.

We would suggest a Soave to go with the dish. The Garganega grape will combine very well with the specific taste of the ramson, given the wine is fresh with a subtle bitterness

Here is what you need:

  • 20 or so Leaves of Ramson
  • Olive Oil
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Farfalle
  • (toasted Pine Nuts or Almonds)
  • (Lemon Juice)

Cut the leaves in smaller bits and blitz the leaves with grated Parmesan cheese. If you want to soften the taste, now is the moment to add some toasted almonds or pine nuts. Slowly add the olive oil until blended and smooth. Maybe you want to add a bit of lemon juice.
Cook the farfalle and serve with the pesto and some grated Parmesan cheese.
You can store the pesto for a week or so in the refrigerator if you add some extra olive oil to the jar, covering the pesto.