Penne with Hogweed, Garlic and Chilli
This easy pasta is the perfect way to enjoy the delicious flavour of freshly picked hogweed. It uses storecupboard ingredients and can be quickly rustled up. As with any simple dish, it’s all about the quality of the components: pick tender young hogweed shoots, selecting leaf buds before the leaves have fully opened, and use a good-quality dried pasta and your very best olive oil.
- 2 large handfuls (about 100g) hogweed leaf buds
- 170g dried penne or other short pasta
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes, or more to taste
- Rinse the hogweed buds and leave them to drain in a colander.
- Put a large pan of generously salted water on to boil for cooking the pasta.When the water is boiling, add the penne and cook until al dente – follow the instructions on the packet, but test for doneness about a minute before the specified time is up.
- Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan set over a low heat. Add the garlic and chilli flakes and let them cook slowly so that they infuse the oil. When the garlic is just beginning to take on some colour, add the hogweed buds and stir well to coat with the oil. Add a generous seasoning of salt and allow the hogweed to cook gently until tender, about 5 minutes or so, stirring from time to time. If the hogweed is done before the pasta is ready, remove the frying pan from the heat and reheat briefly before adding the pasta.
- When the pasta is cooked, skim off a teacupful of its cooking water and reserve. Drain the pasta and add it to the hot pan of hogweed. Toss well to coat, adding a little of the reserved pasta cooking water to moisten the dish. Turn off the heat under the pan, then drizzle over the remaining olive oil. Toss again and taste for seasoning, and serve.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK