What are garlic scapes?
A garlic scape is the stem and unopened flower of a garlic plant. Garlic scapes taste like garlic, but are milder and sweeter. They remind me of spring ramps in a lot of ways. They make a great pesto, largely because (again) you don't have to separately add garlic cloves since the greens already inherently have that lovely, garlicky flavor.
I first encountered garlic scapes in my first ever CSA (back in 2009!), from ReVision Urban Farms, a great nonprofit program that works in conjunction with a women's shelter to teach women real life work skills.
I thought they were great, but soon realized they were impossible to find in a traditional super market. Farmer's markets are not always convenient to visit, so I just didn't have a chance to buy them or even see them for years.
Imagine how thrilled I was when I saw these beautiful, curly garlic scapes in my CSA box this past week (along with some fresh peas and other gorgeously colorful vegetables).
I immediately knew exactly what I was going to make.
This recipe uses pistachios as the nut, which is great because pistachios are among my favorite nuts in the world. I only had salted pistachios on hand, which is fine. Just don't add as much salt into the pesto itself.
I'm one of those inexact type of cooks that just likes to throw everything into the food processor - even the oil! I cut up the garlic scapes a bit so that they would fit. Otherwise, just throw it all in!
And then pulse until the pesto is well pureed. At this point, you can add salt and pepper to taste. If you used salted pistachios and a pretty salty Parmesan cheese, you may not even need to add that much salt.
You can set some pesto aside if you want for future use, such as spreading on top of toast, serving with roasted vegetables, or eating with potatoes. The possibilities are endless. I put half in the freezer and tossed the other half with some simple bowtie pasta.
Bryan and I then shelled the peas at the table and threw them straight into the pasta (yes, raw!). I loved how the sweet and slightly crunchy raw peas provided a fresh, summer-like contrast to the garlicky, herbaceous pesto.
Garlic Scapes and Pistachio Pesto (with fresh peas!)
source: adapted from epicurious
⅓ cup shelled pistachios
~ 10 garlic scapes (cut into sizes that can fit into your food processor)
⅓ cup grated Parmesan Romano cheese
⅓ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
½ to 1 lb pasta (depending on how saucy you like your pasta!)
fresh peas, preferably still in the shell (optional)
Puree the pistachios, garlic scapes, grated cheese with olive oil in a food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste.
If making the pasta dish, cook pasta according to instructions. Toss hot pasta with the pesto sauce until well incorporated. Optionally mix in freshly shelled raw peas.
Disclaimer: the vegetables from Siena Farms were purchased at a discount price.
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