Wild Garlic Pesto with Grilled Chicken and Tagliatelle
Juicy, mild, garlicky but not overdone, delicious, and so very easy. Marinate any meat in any pesto and grill it, and you have a straightforward and tasty meal, but take it to that extra dimension by making your own pesto from foraged wild ingredients. You can really taste the countryside in this wild garlic pesto. It’s nice that wild garlic is so seasonal – it welcomes the spring, stays around for a few weeks and then leaves you for the year.
The pesto can be made and kept in a jar in the fridge for at least 2 weeks if you drizzle a layer of olive oil on the top. You can then use spoonfuls as you need and put the jar back in the fridge.
Of course, only pick your wild garlic where the dogs and walkers don’t go and wash it well when you get home. Don’t take all the leaves off one plant or empty a patch of it; you want it to come up again next year.
Serves 4. Timings: 10 minutes for the pesto, 1 hour marinating (or more), 30 minutes final preparation
Blend all the pesto ingredients together thoroughly – I find a stick blender works best for this. Adjust the texture and seasonings – you might need to add more lemon juice or a little more oil depending on the texture and freshness of your leaves. Scoop the pesto into a jar (this much makes about two small jars full which is about double what you need for this recipe) and drizzle a layer of olive oil on the top to stop it discolouring if you aren’t going to use it straightaway. Store in the fridge.
Marinate the chicken breasts in 2 tablespoons of pesto in a bowl for at least one hour and up to 12 hours.
When ready to eat, pre-heat your oven to 200°C and cook the chicken breasts on a metal cooking tray for about 20 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink inside. The pesto will combine with the juices to make the most gorgeous saucy crozzly bits.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for the time recommended on the packet, drain and retain a cupful of the cooking water. Mix 2 tablespoons of pesto with the tagliatelle and mix through along with some of the cooking water – adding a bit more to adjust the consistency and make the sauce cling to the pasta. Serve with the chicken sliced on top, drizzled with more pesto and any sauce you can scrape from the cooking tray. Finally, sprinkle with parmesan.
A simple green salad is all you need on the side.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.