Spring has finally arrived here in Gothenburg and even if it’s still a bit chilly, the temperature is starting to rise. Little by little every day now. Undoubtedly spring is the time for asparagus and wild garlic, and this comforting noodle dish has become one my favorite easy recipes for those April days when there is still a little chill in the air.
This dish is all about the quality of the ingredients, so try to source the best possible you can find. These are my favorite gluten-free noodles, but you could also use a good quality whole wheat pasta. If you can’t find wild garlic (ramps) for the pesto – try experimenting with a mix of chives, baby spinach and garlic. And if you can – try to source organic ingredients. The season for asparagus in Sweden is not quite here yet, so for now I buy mine (organic from Spain) here. This is also where I get my wild garlic, as we don’t have any wild growing nearby.
This dish is super simple to throw together once you have made the pesto. And I call it a pesto, even if I omitted the parmesan cheese and replaced the classic pine nuts with sunflower seeds. And be sure to hand crush your peppercorns (in a pestle and mortar) and it will add a classy touch to this simple dish!
Brown rice noodles with wild garlic pesto, asparagus and soft goats cheese
For the pesto
50 g (1/3 cup) sunflower seeds
80 g (about 2 cups) wild garlic leaves
1/2 cup mild extra virgin olive oil
1/3 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 tsp hand crushed black pepper corns
1) Preheat the oven to 150° C (300° F). Rinse the sunflower seeds under running water and drain well.
2) Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the drained seeds out in a single layer. Place on the middle rack of oven and toast for 10-12 minutes. Stir and continue toasting for another 10-12 minutes until fragrant.
3) Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
4) Rinse the wild garlic and drain well. Place all the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor and blitz for a minute or two until well blended. If needed, stop to scrape the pesto down the sides.
You won’t need all of this pesto for 4 people, so keep the leftovers in a jar and place in the fridge for later use. Keeps for 1-2 weeks when completely covered with oil.
For the noodles
250 g brown rice noodles (or pasta of your choice)
500 g (2 bunches) fresh asparagus, the tops (keep the stems for e.g. a soup)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
pinch of fine sea salt
pinch of hand crushed black pepper corns
100 g soft goats cheese, crumbled
chives (optional), finely chopped
toasted sunflower seeds (optional)
1) Cook the noodles according to instructions on the package. Keep noodles in the pot with lid on until using.
2) Rinse and cut the tops off of the asparagus and save the stems for e.g. a soup. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the asparagus tops. Stir fry until just tender and season with sea salt and black pepper.
3) In the noodle pot add about 5-6 tbsp of the wild garlic pesto and stir until all noodles are coated.
4) Divide the noodles in four big pasta bowls and top with asparagus, goat’s cheese, chives, toasted sunflower seeds and crushed black pepper corns.