Pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto

photo (5)

By Ian Knauer
Reposted from Epicurious, May 2012

Garlic scapes are the soft, lime-green-colored stems and unopened flower buds of hard-neck garlic varieties. Scapes have a mild garlic flavor and a slight sweetness, which makes them a prized addition in the kitchen. You can find them in the early summer and midfall at farmers’ markets. If you grow your own garlic (which is easy), trim the scapes off before their flowers open. This forces the plant to focus on bulb production and increases the size of the garlic cloves. My Aunt Denise introduced me to the idea of garlic-scape pesto. Here I use it to sauce pasta; you can also spread it on crostini or use as a pungent dip for crunchy vegetables. If all you have are salted pistachios, forgo the salt in the recipe and add salt to taste at the end.

For the pesto

  • 10 large garlic scapes
  • 1/3 cup unsalted pistachios
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Make the pesto: Puree the garlic scapes, pistachios, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the opening. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. (The pesto keeps in the fridge, covered, for 1 week or frozen for a month./0 In a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta-cooking water, then drain the pasta. Whisk together 2/3 cup of the pesto and the reserved pasta water and toss with the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve right away.

Allandale Note: You can add a little basil for a sweeter flavor. Pine nuts or almonds can be substituted for pistachios.

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