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Recipe: Linguine with a simple tomato sauce, wild garlic flowers and pine nuts

Linguine with a simple tomato sauce, wild garlic flowers and pine nuts

Linguine with a simple tomato sauce, wild garlic flowers and pine nuts

I wasn’t planning on blogging this recipe. I arrived back from Ireland extremely tired and with no voice, replete with booming scratchy cough. I was in reasonable spirits though as I had just spent a great weekend at the new Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine. It was a terrific event and weekend, drawing the worlds best food & drink writing talent to East Cork. But, that deserves a whole post on its own and I will come back to that.

On my return I was tired, hungry and in need of nourishment. Something delicious but not too challenging. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and London was alive. We had our first peep of summer. So, I brought summer to my kitchen too.

I eat this dish a lot. I adore pasta and I love quick pasta dishes like this one, carbonara, gricia and many more. The secret to this dish is to use the best ingredients. There are so few that if you don’t, you will know.

I had fabulous Italian tomatoes in a jar, a great dried linguine (from Pastificcio dei Campi available online at Food in the City and from Melograno Deli in London – they will also sell the best tomatoes too), some fresh basil intended for another dish that I didn’t get around to making, and some lovely lively garlic. A little bit of espelette pepper gave everything a ping, you can use a little chilli too (but not too much).

I made my dish and posted it online and had several requests for the recipe. Pasta with tomatoes in one version or another is such a feature in my kitchen, I realised that I should.

Enjoy, this tastes of sunshine and summer and is delicious. I made enough for two even though it was just for me, and then roasted the leftovers in the oven later with an egg cracked in the middle. I recommend you do it to.

Note on the recipe: you can serve with pecorino or parmesan too but I fancied something light so used pine nuts.

RECIPE: Linguine with a simple tomato sauce, wild garlic flowers and pine nuts

Serves 2


200g best linguine
1 400g jar or tin of best tomatoes
a handful of fresh basil leaves
2 cloves good garlic, peeled and finely chopped
espelette pepper if you have it, if not one mild fresh chilli
sea salt
olive oil for frying
25g pine nuts
wild garlic flowers to garnish, if you can get them (they are lovely and fresh, remniscent of spring onion!)
optional: a little (very good) extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on at the end


Sauté the garlic in the olive oil over a medium heat for a minute or so. If using fresh red chilli add about half of it, chopped and deseeded, now.

Add the tomatoes and after a few minutes reduce the heat and let them cook for about 15 minutes. If you can’t source great tomatoes, enhance the flavour with a little sherry or balsamic vinegar and also a little honey to taste. Add the espelette pepper if using that, to taste.

Toast the pine nuts until light brown in a dry frying pan and leave to the side.

While the pasta sauce is cooking, cook the linguine until al dente (literally – with bite). Drain, reserving some of the water, and add the linguine to the sauce. Mix thoroughly, adding pasta water if too dry. Tear the basil leaves by hand and stir through.

Serve immediately in bowls / plates that have been warmed through in the oven (this will help keep the pasta hot). Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts, drizzle the extra virgin olive oil on top and sprinkle with the wild garlic flowers.



Filed under: Cooking


Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.


  1. andreamynard says

    Looks really lovely and so simple – making me want to head off for a woodland walk to gather garlic flowers. A week or so they weren’t flowering and I made pesto with the garlic leaves, but I bet they’re flowering after the weekend sunshine.

  2. Emily says

    Niamh, the pasta sounds delicious! On the subject of the lamb shoulder in your book, does “whole” shoulder mean bone in? Thanks! Emily

  3. I basically live by quick pasta dishes in the week and this looks lovely. Now if I could only find some wild garlic…

    • It never is. Sourcing is key to great food. You can make decent food with poor ingredients with effort but never great food.

  4. This looks so delicious and restorative. I picked a lot of wild garlic last week and feel like I almost overdid it but may have to pick a little more and try this.

  5. This is such beautiful comfort food. Can’t wait to hear about Ballymaloe- sounds amazing.

    • Thank you, Tori :)

      In the next couple of posts, will try this eve if I can squeeze it in x

    • It sounds like you need to visit Ireland, Maggie. We have lots of fabulous food and fabulous cooks too :-)


  6. colette says

    Sounds great any tips on where to source garlic flowers in London

    • If you don’t know where to pick them – I can’t advise here unfortunately – you my catch them in farmers markets (I have many times) although it will be the end of the season now.

  7. What a nice recipe. As I read this now I fear summer may have deserted us for a while, however I still think the linguine would be lovely and warming on a cold May evening. i will enjoy it in the spirit of summer and will give it a go tomorrow!

    • Thanks Adam! Hope you enjoyed it and that it bought the illusion of summer to your table.

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