Have you ever heard of a garlic scape? I sure hadn’t before we got some in our CSA share last week. We probably looked like a bunch of ignorant city kids in front of the farmer, tentatively picking them up between unsure fingers. In all fairness, they look crazy! Like some sort of plant straight from the Jurassic period that could uncoil, reach out, and sting you at any moment! Ah! Never fear, I tamed the beast and made this absolutely phenomenal Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta.
According to About.com (obvi the most reliable source out there…), garlic scapes are the “flower stalks” of garlic plants that are most often removed and discarded. However, savvy farmers know that they pack a mean flavor punch and sell them at markets. When I say mean flavor punch…. Boy, do I mean it. If you’ve ever eaten raw garlic or the green part of a green onion, you know what I mean when I say “bitey”. A flavor so sharp it bites you on the tongue in a spicy-but-not-spicy way.
When researching this strange curly tendril taking up space in my fridge, I found that some people used it as a pesto sauce. Seemed easy enough. Blend it with oil, lemon, some nuts, and call it a day. Then I went to taste my creation…
BOOM. The sharp flavor smacked me straight across the mouth. It was decent, the right salt and oil ratios, but MAN did it pack a punch. I was skeptical.
My ever-positive boyfriend encouraged me to use it anyways and that it would be fine. So we made the pasta, sautéed the other veggies, and then had a light bulb moment.
“Why don’t we add the pesto to the pan with everything and cook it out a bit???
Genius, that boy is. See what teamwork in the kitchen can produce?? Cooking the pesto removed the sharpness just like cooking garlic tones down the flavor. What we ended up with was SO good. We absolutely gobbled it up.
Please, PLEASE go to your local farmers market and hunt down this crazy vegetable. You will not regret it!
Garlic Scapes are an unusual vegetable found at farmer's markets in the spring and early summer. Their strong garlic and onion flavor mellow beautifully when tossed with warm pasta and other fresh spring veggies!
- ½ box whole grain linguine (or GF pasta of choice)
- 1 pint (about 2 cups) of fresh sugar snap peas
- 4 cups large leaf spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 large (or 2-3 small) green onion, white and light green parts only
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 “bunch” of garlic scapes, about 6-8 stalks
- 6-8 large basil leaves
- 2 tsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- ¼ walnuts, toasted
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼- ½ cup water
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- Begin by bringing a pot of very salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 6-7 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain (DO NOT rinse) and toss lightly with oil or non-stick spray.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop garlic scapes and add them to a food processor, pulsing to break them down into very fine pieces. Add the rest of the pesto ingredients and process until smooth and thick, adding water as needed.
- To cook the vegetables, heat a large pan with the oil over medium-high heat and add the green onions, sautéing for 2-3 minutes. Add the snap peas (destemmed) and sauté an additional 5-6 minutes until they have turned bright green.
- Once peas and onions are cooked, add the spinach on top followed by the pasta. The heat of the pan and the pasta will wilt the spinach.
- Add the pesto sauce and use tongs to toss and combine everything in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until everything is warm and incorporated. Enjoy!