Recipes from your veg box: Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Wild Garlic Pasta
The next in our series of recipes with Better Food Traders showcases seasonal and foraged wild garlic and the purple member of the broccoli family, in a simple pasta dish whipped up by Cultivate Cooperative in Wales.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli is one of the heroes of the hungry gap. A fantastically resilient plant, sown almost a year in advance it is worth the wait to brighten up a spring dish. The purple florets are nutty and almost sweet in flavour, and work well with pasta dishes, stir-fries or with a squeeze of lemon as a steamed side dish.
Wild Garlic (Ramsons) is another superb spring crop – it grows in abundance in woodlands and along river paths. You will notice it’s pungent sweet garlic scent if you’re out on a walk and lucky enough to live near some wild spaces. Be sure to know what you’re looking for if our foraging, and only pick a few leaves from each plant rather than the whole thing.
Cultivate Cooperative is a local food organisation based in Newtown, mid-Wales where Wild Garlic grows all across the town lining the River Severn and speckled through the woods. Cultivate runs a local food Deli, seasonal veg box scheme, a community garden, allotments and community kitchen. They have been going for nearly 10 years, focusing on strengthening the local food system.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Wild Garlic Pasta
100g wild garlic leaves (thoroughly washed)
40g lightly toasted nuts (mixture of pine nuts and cashews works really well)
100ml olive oil (or less if you want a more firm pesto base)
100g pasta per person
100g purple sprouting broccoli
Handful of other greens (kale, spinach, frozen peas) - optional
Squeeze lemon juice
2 eggs (skip if want to make it vegan)
First make the wild garlic pesto. Thoroughly wash the garlic leaves and roughly chop. Lightly toast the nuts til golden brown. Put garlic and nuts in a food blender and blitz until smooth. Pour in the olive oil and blitz to combine.
Put the pasta on to boil (save a few ladles of pasta water for the next step).
Cut any larger heads of purple sprouting broccoli in half length ways down the stem. Heat a frying pan with olive oil/butter on medium heat and add the broccoli and other greens if you have some. Add 2 ladles of the cooked pasta water and sauté for a few minutes. Once the liquid has reduced slightly, add a squeeze of lemon and the wild garlic pesto to the frying pan and stir in.
Drain the pasta and allow to cool slightly in the pan. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl and stir into the pasta to make a silky sauce (if the pasta is too hot, the egg will scramble rather than create a carbonara style sauce). Skip this step if you want the meal to be vegan, and glug some olive oil over the pasta instead.
Tip the broccoli mix into the pasta pan and mix together.
Serve with parmesan/vegan hard cheese and a side of winter salad leaves or microgreens piled on top. The taste of spring!
All the Better Food Traders sell organic, fresh, delicious veg. They put their farmers, communities and the planet first. Fair pay, less pollution, seasonal, healthy food for everyone.
Small, ethical food retailers can’t always do delivery slots, nor offer huge amounts of choice at low prices. But by committing to these ethical food providers you are doing the planet and your local community a massive favour, all whilst prioritising healthy food for you and your family. Find your local Better Food Trader here.
See last month's Better Food Traders recipe for your remaining rhubarb