Garlic Scape Pesto

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Being a New Yorker requires a bit of self-induced amnesia. As a New Yorker (yes, I’m calling myself a New Yorker even though I grew up in LA…I live here now) I constantly forget just how annoying it is when the L train is delayed in the morning…inevitably making me late for work. Every time I go out of town I conveniently forget how expensive it is to actually live here and am welcomed back into town with a $65 dollar cab ride from JFK. And I also forget how god-damned hot it is here in the summer.

So as a former resident of perfect-weather plagued Los Angeles, I somehow still think the summer just means slightly warmer weather and trips to the beach in the Corvette.

Here in the greatest city in the world summer is a scorching inferno of sweat and smelly streets. You’re lucky if you have A/C but also unlucky because your electric bill suddenly starts to resemble your paycheck. But seriously, it’s ridiculously hot and unpleasant and I never get sick of complaining about it.

It’s definitely too hot to turn on the oven, which is such a shame because all the farmers markets are bursting with vegetables just screaming to be roasted. Walking through the lovely McGolrick Park farmers market in Greenpoint Sunday morning, I just HAD to buy something….so I settled on garlic scapes which would do well in a pesto. I also picked up some fresh basil…because the stuff in the grocery store never really has that beautiful pungent smell that the fresh-picked stuff does.

Here is a scape of a scape.

garlic scape

Garlic scapes are the tip tops of the garlic plant and are sort of like ramps in their recent accent to culinary stardom. They are essentially weeds that showed up on a few fancy hipster menus around town and are now the highlight of every farmers market. Many people will describe the taste of scapes as “sweet garlic” but I have yet to try a sweet scape. They are quite bitter….think of eating a raw garlic clove but slightly less intense.

Also…I feel like now is a good time to remind you of some of the wonderful summer recipes that have appeared on this blog in the past. Happy melting!

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

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Grilled Peach and Halloumi Salad

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Raw Asparagus Salad

Asparagus saladDandelion and Chickpea Salad

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garlic scape pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto

Serves 4

You will need:

1/2 box rigatoni or penne pasta

4 garlic scapes (about 1/4 cup chopped)

20 large basil leaves (about 1 cup chopped)

Approximately 1/4 cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons

2 Tablespoons pine nuts

1 pint sungold tomatoes (or regular cherry tomatoes), cut into quarters

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (I like to use the shaved chunks from Bel Gioioso)

1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Method:

1. Boil water and cook the pasta till al dente (about 10 minutes).

2. Chop the garlic scapes into tiny pieces. Also chop the basil into ribbons and add to the bowl of a food processor or blender (if using a blender, you will need more oil). Add the Parmesan, pine nuts, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and lemon juice and pulse 10 times. Puree until there are no visible pieces of leaves or nuts. You may want to use a spatula to scrape down the sides a few times during blending.

Note: your pesto will be like a paste and you will add more olive oil later. I like this method better because the flavor of the olive oil gets lost when it’s blended too much.

3. Salty pesto = better pesto, so keep adding salt to taste until you are satisfied. Add the pesto to the cooked pasta and fold in the tomatoes. Generously drizzle olive oil on top and serve with Parmesan sprinkled on top.

garlic scape pesto in mason jar

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