Yesterday I promised a delicious garlic scape pesto pasta. Let’s talk about garlic scapes for a moment. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this image:
Beautiful garlic scapes! Garlic scapes are a somewhat elusive produce as they are only available for a short time. The scape itself is the flower stem that garlic plants produce before the garlic bulb matures. Harvesting the scape forces the bulb to grow larger (good for farmers) and the young, tender scape can be enjoyed by the lucky few who are able to find them at the market (good for us). I had read that garlic scape pesto was a good introductory way to work with garlic scapes, so that is what I attempted. The large bunch you see above cost $2 and yielded 4 cups of prepared pesto. Obviously making your own pesto can get pricey with the cost of pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan, but I haven’t found a pesto in my grocery store that rivals the taste of homemade pesto. If you’ve never made your own pesto, I highly recommend it. All you need is a food processor — a mini chopper works great!
Slice the garlic scapes into roughly 1″ pieces. You’ll also need a few leaves of basil. I used 10-15 from my basil plant. Ignore that dill in the background…there might be a special recipe coming up for you later in the week (spoiler: it’s PICKLES!!!!).
In the bowl of the food processor, zest and juice one lemon. Add in 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts. (Trader Joe’s sells already toasted pine nuts. If you can’t get those, heat the pine nuts in a pan on low until you just start to smell them. They burn fast.)
Add the chopped scapes and basil to the bowl of the food processor. Season with salt and pepper.
Pulse until the mixture reaches an oatmeal like consistency.
Now it’s time to add in your olive oil. With the blade running, add in up to 1 cup of olive oil. Tip: See that hole in the top of the food processor? That’s to drizzle the olive oil in. Don’t worry, if you just had a total “Duh!” moment; it took me years to figure that out. If you are using a larger food processor, the hole will likely be in the little cup thingy (which must be the official name?) that fits in the shoot. Run the food processor until the pesto reaches the desired consistency (I like mine to be like loose grits).
If you are using your pesto right away, you can now add in your cheese. Since I was freezing half, I left the cheese out.
To the portion I was using right away, I mixed in 1/4 cup of parmesan. After cooking some homemade pasta and reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water, I added the pasta to a large skillet. Mix in the garlic scape pesto and toss.
Add in a diced tomato and enough pasta water to loosen the pesto and coat the pasta. Remove from the heat and top with additional cheese.
Serve as a main course, or along side some oven grilled chicken breasts like I did!
- 1 bunch of garlic scapes, chopped into 1" pieces
- 10-15 basil leaves
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 cup or less of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 pound pasta, cooked in salted water, 1/4 cup of water reserved
- 1 tomato, diced
- In the bowl of the food processor, zest and juice one lemon. Add in pine nuts, scapes, and basil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Slowly drizzle in olive oil while running the food processor until the pesto reaches the desired consistency.
- If using immediately, stir in cheese.
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/4 of pasta water when draining.
- Add pasta and pesto to a large skillet on low heat. Toss to combine. Add in a diced tomato and enough pasta water to loosen the pesto and coat the pasta.
- Remove from the heat and top with additional cheese.