Bear’s Garlic (or Ramps) Pesto
Makes 1 1/2 cups (375ml) This recipe makes enough to coat four portions of pasta (starting with 1 pound/450g) of dried pasta. But it’s so versatile, and delicious, that you’ll find it’s great swirled into soup (such as Soupe au pistou or Potato-Leek soup), spread on toasted bread with fresh or aged goat cheese, or if you’re the kind of person who enjoys a good grilled cheese sandwich at home, it’d be incredible smeared between the bread, along with the cheese, then grilled. I also had this with pasta tossed with freshly steamed asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces, and fava beans the other night, which was heaven. Although it’s perfect tossed with pasta, just on its own. As mentioned, if you use something other than bear’s garlic (such as ramps, wild garlic, or green garlic) you may need to adjust quantities. Feel free to swap out almonds or pumpkin seeds for the pistachios. (I don’t toast pistachios since they lose their vibrant green color.)
7 ounces (200g) bear’s garlic, trimmed of tough stems (about 4 cups roughly chopped)
1/3 – 1/2 cup (35-60g) shelled pistachios
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
1/2 cup (125ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (25g) grated Parmesan
1/4 cup (20g) soft grating cheese, such as Emmental or Gouda
1. In a mortar and pestle, start mashing the chopped bear’s garlic in batches, along with the pistachios and salt. (Using the larger quantity of pistachios will make it thicker.) Continue adding the bear’s garlic, until it’s all incorporated. Dribble some of the olive oil in along the way, to create an emulsion.
(You can also make this in a blender or food processor, pureeing all the ingredients together, until relatively smooth.)
2. Add remaining olive oil to the bear’s garlic mixture (if using a mortar and pestle), then pound in the two types of cheese. Taste, and add additional salt, if necessary.
If the pesto is very thick, it can be thinned with additional olive oil or a bit of tepid water. I often leave it thick, and if tossing it with warm, just-cooked pasta, will add additional olive oil to the pesto-slicked pasta at the last minute, to get it to the desired consistency.

Storage: The pesto will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Unlike basil pesto, this will not discolor quickly. The pesto can be frozen for up to two months.