Around this time last year, I ran into my friend Gina at the Hope Street Farmers Market. She had an armful of gorgeous green Garlic Scapes(garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. Scapes taste just like garlic and are crunchy like green beans or asparagus. They can be eaten raw or cooked, whole or chopped). I asked her what she was making with all of her scapes & she said pesto! My eyes lit up at the word. Later on that day I found a jar of her pesto waiting for me on my doorstep. I couldn’t get enough of it. I spread it on a cracker, swirled some into spaghetti and (at her suggestion) mixed with cream cheese in a toasted onion bagel. It wasn’t long before my jar was empty. That “creamy” garlic flavor stayed with me and I vowed to make some myself.
So last week I picked some up at the market. I looked up a few Scape Pesto recipes for inspiration and landed on this recipe from the NYTimes. It’s a pretty simple recipe and uses the the more economical sunflower seed rather than pricey pine nuts. Read thru the recipe first, and note the ingredient order….as it does matter. A food processor is a must.
Pulse the seeds and scapes together till broken down and mixed well.
Next you would add the olive oil till smooth and THEN the Parmesan cheese….but I didn’t do it in order as the recipe suggested! I added the Parmesan after the oil and basil. I believe it made the mixture a little “stiff”.
Stiff or not, this Pesto was so tasty I wanted to spread it on everything or just eat it straight out of the processor with a spoon.
Last night I was feeling very inspired and in true “Chopped” form, used ingredients I had on hand and made the most scrumptious restaurant-worthy dish using the last of the pesto.
(Gluten-free) Spaghetti with Garlic Scape Pesto and Shrimp
Serves 2 (hungry people)
- Slice 1 orange pepper
- Slice 1/2 zucchini and 1/2 summer squash
- Peel, devein & rinse 12 med shrimp
- Boil 1 12oz box gluten-free spaghetti according to directions(I prefer a rice based pasta, the lentil ones disintegrate very easily!)
In a medium sized sautée pan, heat on medium, a couple tablespoons of olive oil (don’t turn up too high as the high heat will cause your oil to have an unpleasant off-flavor). Add your pepper slices and sautée till slightly soft, then add your squash and cook a few minutes more. At this point, I add a few dashes of onion powder and garlic salt. Stir occasionally. Add the shrimp, stirring frequently. Cook until the flesh is totally pink and opaque; about 4-5min. Set aside.
Drain the pasta and rinse (if using gluten-free pasta).
Combine the pasta with the veggie-shrimp mixture, add some dollops of the Garlic-Scape Pesto and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This was so scrumptious!! Tag finished his helping, smiled and asked if there was more! Needless to say there was none left for lunch today.
If only I could get local scapes year-round, I would make this regularly. I hope you get a chance to try Garlic Scapes and make some pesto. Let me know how it turns out!