Monday, June 10, 2013

Garlic Scape Pesto

In the past I have not done a good job of harvesting garlic scapes. Either I waited until they were too mature to eat, or harvested them only to let them go bad before using them. This year was different, however. I harvested twenty-two Korean Red scapes, which I then ate in a variety of ways. My favorite, by far, was the Garlic Scape Pesto.

I started with a recipe I found online, which had to be adjusted significantly due to the amount of scapes I had available. The recipe called for a pound of scapes, which seems like it would make an insane amount of pesto. My adjusted ingredient list was:

  • Garlic Scapes (cut into small pieces) - 3 oz
  • Parmesan Cheese (grated) - 1/4 cup
  • Olive Oil - 4 TBS
  • White Pepper (to taste)
The original recipe called for black pepper instead of white pepper, but I thought the white pepper might give it a nice kick. The reduced recipe also called for only 3 TBS of olive oil, but we found it was too thick so added another TBS. We use extra light olive oil, but I don't know if that would have any impact on consistency. The recipe also called for 1/4 tsp of lemon juice, which we left out. Andrea said that it was likely to help the pesto keep is color, which wasn't an issue since I didn't let it sit around for very long. 

Making the pesto is incredibly simple. Combine all ingredients into a food processor, and blend until smooth. Apparently some people prefer their pesto a bit chunky, while others like for it to be nice and smooth, so just blend until you get a consistency that you like.

Several of the recipes I found included nuts as an optional ingredient. I think the pesto tasted great as it was, but the addition of nuts or seeds is a good way of adding protein. I saw all of the traditional pesto options suggested, such as pine nuts, walnuts, etc. I also saw the less common almond suggested, and even pistachio, which I don't recall having seen recommended before in other pestos. 

I tossed my pesto with some whole wheat fettuccini, added salt to taste, and topped it off with a bit more grated parmesan cheese. The flavor was fantastic, although with possibly a bit more heat than some people might like. The recipe made enough pesto for two servings for me, which might be enough for four servings normally, since I normally eat a double serving (4 oz) of pasta. 

I'm already considering growing more hardneck garlic next year, just to have more scapes to use for pesto. I haven't completely given up on the idea of experimenting with other uses for scapes, but it'll be hard to waste them on something other than pesto, now that I know how good it is.

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