garlic scape pesto pasta salad

Savoie Organic Farm is my first stop at the Collingswood Farmers' Market. The farmers bring select plants and produce that were thoughtfully harvested. The folks at the Saturday Market are kind and knowledgeable about their share. And, yep, that’s me at 8:00am creepily looking through the fancy radishes and asking rando questions.

Last Saturday was my first encounter with garlic scapes. 10 for $4.50 is Savoie’s price; and with my purchase of 10 came free recipe advice to make pesto.

If you don’t know what scapes are, let’s keep it simple. Garlic scapes are the flower stems of garlic. Milder than garlic cloves, raw scapes can be quite oniony in flavor.

Growers harvest the scapes during June and there is a short window for availability. If you are lucky enough to find them, buy at least 10.

This recipe can be modified to your preference. A handful of basil, spinach or pea shoots can be used in combination with 4-5 garlic scapes to lessen the bite. The pasta is delicious warm or chilled.

garlic scape pesto pasta salad

yield: 1 pound pasta

10 garlic scapes, roughly chopped into 4-inch pieces
1/3 cup pistachios, unsalted and unroasted* (plus 1-2 tablespoons more for garnish)
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (plus 1-2 tablespoons more for garnish)
1/3 cup olive oil (I use Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound pasta (gemelli, farfalle, shells, your choice of shape)
1 cup hot pasta cooking water

*Skip this step if you purchased roasted pistachios. You will want to roast the pistachios to bring out the flavor. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pistachios evenly on a sheet pan and bake for 5-7 minutes until fragrant. Remove from oven and transfer to a plate to stop cooking. Allow to cool.

Using a food processor, process the garlic scapes, roasted and cooled pistachios and shredded parmesan to a small rough chop. You can choose the level of fineness; I prefer a slightly chunkier texture.

With the processor on low speed, slowly pour in the olive oil until all ingredients are combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water to al dente (firm to the bite). Feel free to taste your pasta during cooking to test for doneness. Strain the pasta and save 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Place the warm cooked and drained pasta into a large mixing bowl. Add the garlic scape pesto mixture and gently fold until the pasta is coated. Beginning with ½ cup, gradually add the hot pasta cooking water and stir to achieve your preferred consistency (I used ¾ cup of pasta water in total). The hot pasta cooking water will just barely soften the bite of the garlic scapes. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Taste and season before serving and garnish with chopped pistachios and grated parmesan. Will keep for 3-4 days refrigerated in an airtight container.

Note, tomatoes and/or black olives are nice additions to this pasta salad.

modified from epicurious