CSA Adventures: Garlic Scape Pesto

Among the many things I love about my CSA is that it forces me to try new things. Some of the vegetables I’ve gotten I’ve never heard of before the CSA.

Case in point: garlic scapes.

Scapes are the flowering stem thing that comes up from a bulb of garlic. If you’re growing garlic, you want these gone at some point before they start pulling nutrition from the bulb, thus making the bulb smaller and less garlicky.

But the scapes have their own garlic flavor. They’re not as strong as say a clove of garlic is, but they have a flavor that lingers.

Last year, I tried sauteeing them as a side dish. It was tasty, but a little stronger than I wanted. I dug around the Interwebs and found many people used them in place of basil in a pesto. Which calls to mind the question of whether it’s really pesto if it doesn’t have basil, but calling the resulting sauce a garlic scape-Parmesan-oil-nut blend is too long to say.

With an abundance of scapes from the past two weeks, I set out to Pestoville.

First up, wash the scapes and chop them so they fit in your food processor. Yes, you’ll lose the enjoyment of watching the long snake-like stems swirl around before pulverization, but it’s easier all around to chop them up. I used a dozen for my first attempt.

Next, add some Parmesan cheese (anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup depending on the volume and taste you’re going for) and some sort of nut. Pestos usually use pine nuts, but my grocery store was out and I went for slivered almonds. Walnuts are also acceptable. I added about an ounce of almonds. Process until you have a clumpy mess.

Then, with the food processor on, drizzle in olive oil. How much? Depends on you. I kept going until I got the consistency I’d want to put over pasta. I could have stopped earlier if I wanted a dip, which I may make at some point.

When I made my pesto, the temps were about to take the region into another heat wave. I did not want to eat pasta that night. So I froze it, remembering something else I’d read online (where everything is true, right?) about putting pesto into an ice cube tray and then the cubes into a bag for later use. I can add more olive oil and thin it out further if needed.

Et voila! Garlic Scape Pesto. Yum.

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2 thoughts on “CSA Adventures: Garlic Scape Pesto

  1. Hi Jennifer. Welcome to the blog. Definitely try the pesto with scapes. My final version (at least one ice cube’s worth) wasn’t as “saucey” as other pestos I’ve encountered. It was just enough to add flavor to the pasta without overwhelming it. If I make it again, I might try adding more oil to thin it out or just using two cubes for a big bowl of pasta.

  2. That sounds fantastic! I’m not a big fan of pesto, to be honest – I don’t mind basil, but I don’t like it as the main flavor. My husband loves it. But we both are huge fans of garlic. I had no idea you could do anything with the scapes. Thanks! (Found you from Studio 30.)

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