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wild garlic tagliatelle with sausage in a bowl

Wild Garlic Tagliatelle with Caramelized Onions, Sausage, and Mushrooms

For me, the first day of spring here isn’t a date on the calendar but rather the first sighting (and smell in the air) of wild garlic in the Sihltal–the 30km long valley running from Zurich towards Zug. Outside of the season, you can use my regular egg pasta or purchased pasta.

Serves 4


Wild Garlic Pasta

  • Note: the dough can be made 1 day ahead–keep wrapped airtight in the fridge, then sit out at room temperature 1 hour before rolling and cutting.
  • type 00″ flour (or all purpose): 275 g/9.7 oz + extra if needed
  • eggs: 1 large
  • egg yolks: 3 large
  • wild garlic: about 90 g/3.2 oz
  • water: as needed
  • semolina flour or very fine cornmeal for dusting the final pasta pieces

Caramelized Onions

  • Note: these can be made 1-2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated until using.
  • onions: about 600/21 oz
  • oil: 3 Tbsp oil
  • salt: 0.5 tsp salt
  • balsamic vinegar: 2 tsp

Final Assembly

  • high-quality Bratwurst style sausage: 3-4 sausages, about 450-550 g/16-20 oz
  • olive oil: a few tablespoons for cooking the sausage and mushrooms
  • mushrooms: about 400 g/14 oz, chopped (or leave small/wild ones whole)
  • garlic: 2 cloves, minced
  • red pepper flakes: 0.5 tsp
  • butter: about 25 g/1 oz/ 2 Tbsp
  • fresh thyme: 1.5 tsp (leaves only, unless very young stalks, then keep stalks), finely chopped
  • fresh parsley: about 10 g/0.33 oz/small palmful, finely chopped
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese: about 75 g/2.5 oz grated


  • A pasta machine to roll out the sheets and cut the tagliatelle


Wild Garlic Pasta

  1. Prepare the garlic.
    — If you’ve picked your garlic, cut off dirty root ends and discard any other detritus.  Wash the leaves.
    in a medium size bowl, prepare an ice bath with ice cubes and cold water.
    — Bring a small pot of water to boil and add the garlic.  Cook for 60 seconds.
    Remove the garlic and immerse in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
    — Completely dry the leaves, and finely chop.
  2. Prepare the dough.
    — Add the garlic and eggs to a blender or food processor.
    — Blend until the garlic is completely broken down and incorporated with the eggs, 2 minutes low speed, 2 minutes higher speed.
  3. Make the dough.  
    — Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
    — Add the egg-garlic mixture to the well in the flour and whisk with a fork for 1-2 minutes until completely blended.  
    — Using a fork or a plastic dough scraper, begin mixing the flour into the egg mixture. Mix all together until a single ball holds together. If the mixture is too dry, add water in 1 tsp increments. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.
    — Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap, and rest for 10 minutes to allow the flour to fully hydrate.
    — Knead on the tabletop by hand for 8-10 minutes by pushing half of the dough away from you using the heel of your hand. Fold the dough in half toward you, rotate and flip upside down and repeat. The dough will become more elastic and no individual bits of flour should be visible. Roll the dough into a log or rectangle and re-wrap with the plastic wrap.
  4. Rest the dough. Rest for 1 hour at room temperature if using the same day or refrigerate overnight if using later, bringing close to room temperature before rolling out.
  5. Roll and cut the pasta.
    — Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Work with 1 portion at a time, leaving the remaining pieces wrapped up.  
    — Put the pasta machine rollers to the widest setting. Roll the pasta through this setting 4 times, folding the dough over in half after each rolling(except the last rolling).
    — Then roll the dough once through each of the next settings, stopping at the next to last stop (this thinnest setting is only used for filled pastas where the thickness is doubled with top and bottom sheets, and lasagne)
    — Put the pasta sheet on a well floured surface to rest while you continue with the remaining pieces.
    — Using a cutting roller, run each sheet through the cutter and lay out on a well floured surface. If making pasta the same day, allow it to dry out for at least an hour or leave overnight at room temperature covered with a towel.

Caramelized Onions

  1. Prep the onions.
    — Heat a large saute pan to medium high.
    — While the pan is heating, cut the root and tip end off of each onion. Peel the onions, taking care to get all the papery and tough skin away. Clean your cutting board of any skin–we don’t want any of this to get included.
    — Cut the onions in half from root to tip, then rotate 90 degrees and cut each half crosswise into thin slices.
  2. Phase 1: Initial Cook, 5 minutes.
    — Add the oil and allow to heat.
    — Add the onions and toss with the oil until all the onions are coated. We don’t add salt yet–we want to keep moisture in the onions until they have a chance to cook on the inside.
  3. Phase 2: Steam the Onions to Cook Through, 10 minutes (15 minutes total).
    — Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pan. Stir once after 5 minutes.
    — Note: we of course don’t want steamed onions as the end product, but this steaming stage enables the onions to cook internally so that they don’t dry out and burn in the next phase while caramelizing.
  4. Phase 3: Caramelize the Onions, 45 minutes (60 minutes total).
    — Reduce the heat to medium-low. Uncover the pan and stir the onions every 2-3 minutes.
    — After 10 minutes in this phase, add the salt and mix to combine.
    — After 30 minutes in this phase, mix in the balsamic vinegar and scrape up any fond that has developed on the bottom of the pan. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more oil or butter.
    — Keep stirring every few minutes until the onions are deep brown, about 45 minutes in this phase, or 60 minutes overall.

Final Cooking

  1. Cook the sausage.
    — Heat a pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and allow to heat.  
    — Remove the sausage meat from the casing and break into about 1 cm/0.5 inch pieces.
    — Reduce the heat to medium and add the sausage.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes until the sausage is cooked but not crisp on the outside.  Remove the sausage from the pan, and all but 1 tablespoon of the oil/fat mixture.
  2. Cook the vegetables.
    — Increase the heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. 
    — After 3-4 minutes, add the butter, thyme, half of the parsley, and chili flakes.  After another 2 minutes, add the garlic and a couple pinches of salt (add salt at the end of mushroom cooking to keep moisture in).
    — Add the caramelized onions and cook for another 60 seconds.
    — Add the sausage to the mixture, and reduce heat to low to wait for the pasta.
  3. Cook the pasta. Bring 2 liters/quarts of water and 2 Tbsp salt to a boil. Add the pasta, slightly reducing the heat to just below boiling and cook until just finished, about 3 minutes.  Work in batches if needed.
  4. Add the pasta to the sausage-mushroom mixture.
    — Increase the heat of the sausage mixture to medium.
    — Remove the pasta from the water using a small strainer or spider and add the pasta directly into the sausage pan along with a couple tablespoons of the pasta water, a few tablespoons of the grated cheese, and the remaining parsley.
    — Cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper if needed.
  5. Serve the pasta with freshly grated parmesan.