Pasta With Wild Leek Pesto

img_4905The “early summer” edition of the LCBO’s Food & Drink is now circulating and this one’s pretty good. There’s two or three Greek-inspired recipes worth trying, a write-up on Ouzo and some other dishes I’ve bookmarked for trying out.

This pesto made for a quick and delicious lunch yesterday. It calls for the use of wild leeks, otherwise known as making the rounds in other blogs as “ramps”.

Ramps area cross between garlic and leeks and although I could have easily hopped over to my neighborhood Asian market, I made suitable substitution with a large handful of garden chives and a clove of garlic.

Scallions would also work wonderfully here and although the recipe calls for the use of almonds, walnuts pinch-hitted here  and the Pesto was wonderful.img_4902

This pasta dish used the first herb to sprout in my garden (chives), it was eaten “al fresco” or outdoors and it’s a harbinger of all the fresh cooking to come using an array of herbs, right from the garden.

Another wonderful substitution here would be to use some crumbled Feta cheese as a topping. Yeah…I think I’ll try that next time!

Pasta With Wild Leek Pestoimg_4904

Recipe adapted from Lucy Waverman

(serves 4 as first course, 2 as a main)

1/2 cup walnuts

1 cup chopped wild leeks (ramps) or chives or scallions (green part only)

+ (1 clove of garlic if wild leeks are not available)

1 cup of baby spinach (washed and patted dry)

1/4 – 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese

Salt and pepper

250 gr. of tagliatelle or other broad egg noodles

  1. Place your walnuts in the food processor and grind until the nuts are roughly chopped. Add the wild leeks, spinach, garlic and olive oil and process until just a little chunky but smooth.
  2. Stir in the grated cheese and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook to “al dente”, as per package instructions. Save some of the pasta water and then drain.
  4. Toss the pasta with the pesto and add a little pasta water to help amalgamate the sauce. Top with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some more grated Romano.

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38 Comments for “Pasta With Wild Leek Pesto”


Great substitution. There is something very similar to this in Bon Appetite recently that we’ve been batting around making with our ramps too.


I adore pesto, Peter! I keep trying pesto with different ingredients. Never done one with leeks. Its perfect for a weekend meal and a siesta ;)


I absolutely love the taste of leeks…how clever to make it into pesto! Great idea Peter and very tasty looking!


A great take on the traditional pesto. I think I will try this with the almonds – I LOVE almonds and I’m not sure why I have never used them in pesto!


I use to get the LCBO and it was the best. I miss it. They have great recipes. First time I see pesto with leeks. That’s a great recipe.


I had never heard of ramps before until a couple of days ago I found out about them in another blog, now I’ve seen them in like 5 recipes! hahah this looks awesome! I love pesto and I generally experiment with all sorts of base ingredients for them, I’ll try this one out!


You are speaking my language Peter! This looks lovely and fresh. I will have to go plunder the chives in my garden for dinnner tonight :)


Thank heavens for Food & Drink! They have such wonderful and creative recipes, don’t they? Last year for my birthday Mike got tickets to a rising chef challenge down at Calphalon – the seven courses were delicious, but chatting with Lucy Waverman in the washroom was the REAL highlight for me!!!!


I love playing around with pesto flavors and you have just added another idea to the list!! Looks light and summery!!


What a great idea Peter. I made “proper” pesto yesterday, but I have never thought of making it with leeks or scallions. They must add a very peppery note to the dish.


now that’s a pesto i never would’ve dreamed i’d see. how unique, and i’ll bet it tastes so fresh and summery. ah, summer. where are you? :)


I love any kind of pesto and have made many combinations but never heard of ramps before probably we don’t have them in Greece.


Peter … unbelievable, we also have pasta with pesto in the blog today ha ha haa!!
Your pasta dish is full of flavors!!


Ramps are new to me.. saw it in another blog quite recently for the first time.

never seen it around here. I would use the scallions with almonds…. love the idea of this pesto.


I have been trying to hunt down ouzo because I know I would love using it culinary wise.

Good substitution especially since chives grow like a weed. It beats trimming them just for the chives to end up in the compost bin.

You can never go wrong with a good simple meal like this. Nicely done as always!


I’m such a pesto nut. I love the creative use of the ingredient du jour (this is the time for ramps/wild leeks after all).

I love love love what romano cheese does to pesto, so I’m glad you used it. This is a winner.


I love the flavor of leeks so this is a recipe worth trying. I love the simplicity of this pasta dish and I agree it makes for a perfect al fresco meal with a lovely glass of wine on a warm evening. Isn’t it great having fresh herbs on hand? My chives are getting out of hand with this heat lately.
Great post Peter!


I have been enjoying the wild leeks and I just tried a wild leek pesto as well. I like the sound of using the feta in a pesto as it is strong enough to stand up to the wild leeks.