Sweet, gooey, balsamic-y. Roast garlic is delicious, but the ghoulish-looking black garlic popping up now takes this to a whole new level. The cloves are sweet enough to eat as they are, or mash with a little ricotta and tomato puree to make an insane sandwich spread. The bulbs aren’t cheap (at least where I’m buying them) but this is no base-ingredient. It demands centre stage or adds the depth that makes something ordinary into something worth talking about. So of course my first foray into adventure with this little gem had to be something classic and delicious where the garlic could be both key and complemented…it just so happens to be vegan and a total comfort food to help you to the end of veganuary…

Chunky black garlic pesto (and the pasta dish to use it in)

Ingredients
40g pine nuts
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
1/2 bunch basil
4 large or 6 small cloves black garlic
100ml olive oil
Pinch of salt

Place the pine nuts into a dry pan over a medium heat. Toast lightly until all lightly browned. Keep stirring as they’ll burn easily.
Add these to a large pestle and mortar.
Finely chop the herbs. Mash the garlic a little with the back of a teaspoon.
Add everything to the pestle and mortar. You can use a processor for this but I like to keep the texture chunky and there is a little more control this way.
Mash until it reaches the texture you like. I’ve kept it chunky with many of the pine nuts still whole.
Add any more salt to taste.

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Divine pesto pasta
serves 2
100g wholewheat spaghetti
About 12 frozen king prawns (omit for vegan)
3 tbsp black garlic pesto
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 small bunch basil leaves
a few sprigs of parsley

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the spaghetti, bring back to the boil, and simmer for 12 minutes. Drain.
Whilst the pasta is cooking: add the prawns to a large pan with a very thin layer of groundnut oil. Place over a high heat, stirring constantly. Cook for about 4 minutes or until cooked through.
Place the prawns and pasta into a large bowl and stir through the pesto and nigella seeds until everything is coated evenly.
Tear the basil and parsley and stir through.
Serve.

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