Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Dinner: Garlic Scape Pesto

As much as I like cooking, I don't like to stand over a hot stove and slave over a complicated recipe, especially during warmer months and on weekdays.  The farmers' markets have lots of garlic scapes these days, and I finally bit the bullet and cooked with them last week, but only very tentatively (I added them to a farro dish).  What's a garlic scape? It's the stalk of a garlic bulb that, during late spring/early summer, is tender enough to cook with, and in these parts is considered a seasonal treat.  (We're no California so we have to obsess over what we can.)  It looks like a curly, firm green onion and has a very mild garlic flavor.

I wanted to try cooking with them again, especially the season is so short.  Dorie Greenspan, cookbook author and general food doyenne, coincidentally posted a recipe for garlic scape pesto the other day.  Perfect for a weekday dinner.  It's basically garlic scape, almonds (or whatever nut you want), parmesan, and olive oil all whirred together in a blender or food processor.  I made a few changes, which you'll see below. They're earth-shattering. (no they're not)

Of course, had to start with my favorite cooking partners, a glass or two of bubbly and charcuterie from the nearby Salumeria Rosi:

I've never had this prosecco before. It is molto yummy.

I've been on a culatello kick lately.  I didn't even know it existed until recently.

Gorgonzola and Parmesan. You know, it's like I have a meal before my dinner. But that's the kind of entitlement I get as the cook.

I decided to add some cherry tomatoes to Dorie's recipe, even though, as she points out, they're not totally in season. Whatever. I think acid does so much for a dish.  I cut up about 2.5 cups of tomatoes (you could use grape tomatoes as well).

And now for the main event, the gorgeous garlic scape.

I chopped up about 12 to 15 scapes, which comes to a little over a cup.  I sauteed them with a little olive oil and salt before putting it in the food processor, just to take off any harsh "garlic" edge (I got this idea from America's Test Kitchen, which has you blanch garlic cloves before putting them in traditional pesto).

Also dumped in toasted slivered almonds (I added a little more than the recipe called for because I like the sweet nuttiness), and grated parmesan (again, I added more than what the recipe called for but what dish doesn't benefit from more parm?):

Dump it all in the food processor with about 1/2 cup of olive oil. I also added about a 1/2 cup of basil leaves. Take the ingredients to task:

Toss with freshly cooked pasta (I used spaghettini because I had a box of it sitting around) and the tomatoes and mix well. I found that adding about a 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta cooking water made it much easier to mix.


Ta-da again!

Good stuff.


  1. oooo! I was JUST looking at that garlic scape reci of dorie's and thinking -- I wish I had the cooking cajones to cook with those.

    lovely pics by the way. esp of the hors'd/pre-dinner.

  2. Seriously yummy. I'd never heard of garlic scapes, I'll have to try them sometime. I'm getting lots of yummy ideas from you, thanks!! Sean won't know what happened when I start pulling out new recipes instead of the same crap I make all the time. :)

  3. Looks great! I have never cooked with garlic scapes but they sound totally lovely. I've been on a big pesto kick lately, I'd love to try this!

  4. Hi there! I found your site thru Pengy from Weddingbee. That pesto looks so yummy! I'd love to give scapes a try.

    I also live around the corner from Salumeria Rosi. What other meats do you recommend from there?

  5. Hi Eugy! Oh so we're in the same neighborhood! I love the salame toscano at Salumeria. And towards the end of the week they have imported burrata which is sooo delicious. I also like the parmacotto (not as much as the culatello and salame, but the parmacotto is cheaper), and the mortadella (but hubs isn't into the mortadella so sadly I don't get that a lot). Have you been there yet? Let me know what you think!

  6. I'm definitely going to give it a try this weekend! Thanks for your recommendations!

    I also saw your post about finding a new NWS. My husband and I frequent Bacchus. We're wine newbies but the folks at Bacchus are really friendly and take the time to show us the more affordable wines. Not all their staff members are super knowledgeable but I never get the feeling they want us to hurry up and get out even when it's crowded. :P

  7. Thanks for the tip about Bacchus--I will have to give it a try this weekend!