As soon as spring arrives German markets and groceries fill up with wild garlic products, or Bärlauch, as it is called here. In the past four years I have noticed an impressive increase in wild garlic dishes in restaurants too. Whether a food fad or real fashion this plant of the Allium family, formerly considered a weed to a certain extent, is a real pleasure to eat. Other bloggers certainly think so too: just have a look at Johanna's wild garlic gnocchi, Petra's risotto or Maki's ravioli.I was dying to prepare something wild-garlicky too, so I was really content as I managed to find some fresh wild garlic leaves for once (you don't eat the bulb of this plant).
The easiest thing you could do with these leaves, apart boiling or pan frying them and then eating them as vegetables, is to use them for a pesto with a twist (in the opening picture). I simply took my basic pesto recipe (you can find hundreds on the web) and substitute the basil with the wild garlic leaves and the pine nuts with almonds. I also clearly used no garlic whatsoever since the leaves themselves really need no further garlic aroma. 5 minutes work, plus the time to cook the pasta and you have a mouthwatering dish "guaranteed to impress" as they say on TV.
With the rest of my wild garlic catch I decided to have a go with ravioli, those on Maki's blog looked just so tasty. I used a basic recipe for ravioli agli spinaci, though a few more leaves would have helped get a somewhat greener filling. Yet, better for the flavor, since the amount of garlicky aroma and mellow ricotta balanced each other very nicely.
Wild Garlic Ravioli
egg pasta dough made with 300 g flour and 3 large eggs
a bunch of wild garlic leaves (about 1 1/2-2 cups), finely chopped
200 g ricotta drained as much as possible from the whey
1 large egg
50 g grated Parmigiano
salt, pepper and eventually bread crumbs
prepare the dough first and rest for at least 30 minutes.
Mix wild garlic, ricotta, grated cheese and egg together. Season with salt and pepper and check the consistency. The stuffing should be slightly moist but not wet to the touch, if needed add bread crumbs till it feels right. A wet stuffing will soften the dough of the ravioli and often result in them breaking apart while cooking.
Roll the dough as fine as possible, either with a rolling pin or a pasta machine, and cut into squares, about 5 cm in size.
Place about half a teaspoon of filling on every square, fold the pastry over and seal. You can shape these any way you want actually, but just folding along the diagonal will give some pretty triangular ravioli.
Cook in plenty of boiling water and remove as soon as they float to the top. Serve with melted butter and extra grated Parmigiano if you wish.