I’ve made this sauce in Italy with wild herbs that I gathered in the countryside. I love preparing it with my own fresh herbs. Wild herbs are quite pungent and highly aromatic, and a little goes a long way. When I make this pasta from my garden, I use a wide variety of herbs to create the complex taste and aroma of truly wild herbs and achieve a very successful dish. Feel free to use whatever assortment of herbs appeals to you or is available to you.
- Sea salt
- 1 pound imported orecchiette or penne rigate
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 2 fresh bay leaves, torn in half
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh winter savory
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped wild fennel tops
- Large handful of arugula, stemmed and chopped
- 1 heaping tablespoon salt-cured capers or Salt-cured Nasturtium Buds
- Freshly grated pecorino cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
Meanwhile, place the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and red pepper and warm over low heat until the garlic is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add all the herbs, the capers, and salt to taste and stir gently. Let the herbs warm over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, at which time the sauce should be quite aromatic.
Drain the pasta and, off the heat, toss with the sauce, adding more olive oil as needed. Serve sprinkled with a few spoonfuls of pecorino.
Nutritional information is based on 6 servings, does not include additional olive oil for serving, freshly grated pecorino cheese, or Salt-cured Nasturtium Buds. For nutritional information on Salt-cured Nasturtium Buds, please follow the link above.