Garlic Scape Pesto, Two Ways



It seems like everyone is into making pesto with their scapes. Ever since the CSA started offering these chartruese specialties, I've been racking my brain and researching scape ideas. I came across suggestion after suggestion to make scape pesto. I read the words "Dorie's Pesto" over and over again. (Have you read Dorie Greenspan's blog? She has 5 James Beard awards.)



I was determined not to make Dorie's Pesto. So, for my first foray into scape-land, I came up with Pan-Fried Cod with Sauteed Garlic Scapes and Swiss Chard. It tasted great. And convinced that I'd discover other great ways to use these somewhat mysterious vegetables, I started hoarding them. In fact, I've been saving up my garlic scapes for three weeks. The good news? Scapes keep for three weeks. The bad news? I only came up with one other scape idea...And I'm missing ingredients that I have to go to an Asian market for, so I'll not be making that recipe for at least a few days....any bets that the scapes last another full week?

This evening, as I was shoving containers of vegetables and leftovers into the fridge, I decided to give in. I decided to try Ms. Greenspan's pesto. However, as I was standing at my counter, ready to join the scape pesto masses, a little chorus of voices called out "use me!" I looked to my left and there, waiting patiently for their turn on the cutting board, were....baby bella mushrooms. The lightbulb went off. Mushroom-Scape Pesto. So, I made it. And, when I realized I still had scapes left over, I made the more traditional scape pesto. Both are completely different and completely delicious.

The Garlic Scape pesto is bright with a bite. The scapes provide the garlicy tanginess and almonds contrast with sweet nuttiness.

The Mushroom Scape pesto is mellow and earthy, with a hint of garlic and a little pine-nut crunch.

Recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto
adapted from In the Kitchen and On the Road with Dorie
Makes approx 3/4 pint of pesto (1 1/4 cups)

You'll need:
  • a food processor or blender
  • 10-12 garlic scapes, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
    (I only had whole almonds, so I gave them a whirl in my food processor before measuring)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
    (I tend not to season my pesto until I'm ready to use it in a dish. But you could add some while you're making it)

In a food processor (or your blender), combine scapes, almonds, cheese and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Blend until combined. Scrape sides of processor with spatula, add the other 1/4 cup of olive oil, and blend again. Add some salt and pepper and give it one more whirl. If you like your pesto smoother, keep blending until you reach your desired consisteny. (I prefer mine well blended, but with the scapes and nuts still decipherable.)

Spoon into 1/2 pint jars or small containers. If you want to refrigerate your pesto, I like to add a thin layer of olive oil (or you can use a piece of plastic wrap, pressed onto the top of the pesto) and then screw on the jar's lid. If you want to freeze your pesto, fill the jar and pop on the lid. Stick in the freezer and try to use it within the year.

Recipe: Mushroom-Scape Pesto
by Nicole
Makes 1 pint (2 cups)

You'll need:
  • a food processor or blender a saute pan
  • a strainer
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 2 generous cups of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup of garlic scapes, trimmed and chopped (about 8 scapes)
  • 2/3 cup of freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (I used raw, but you could certainly use toasted)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper

Melt butter in saute pan. Add scapes and saute, 2 minutes, until scapes are fragrant and bright green. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are beginning to get soft, but scapes are still crunchy.

Remove from heat and transfer mixture to strainer. Let vegetables drain and cool.
When at room temperature, add vegetables, cheese, nuts, and 1/4 cup of olive oil to processor. Blend until combined. Scrape sides of processor with spatula, add the other 1/4 cup of olive oil, and blend again. Keep blending until you reach your desired consisteny.

Spoon into 1/2 pint jars or small containers. If you want to refridgerate your pesto, I like to add a thin layer of olive oil (or you can use a piece of plastic wrap, pressed onto the top of the pesto) and then screw on the jar's lid. If you want to freeze your pesto, fill the jar and pop on the lid. Stick in the freezer and try to use it within the year.

QUICK NOTE: I forgot to mention that I think the mushroom pesto would make a spectacular filling for ravioli. And, if you take another look at the first picture associated with this post, wouldn't the sauteed mushrooms and scapes be delicious over pasta? I'd add some pancetta to the saute and serve with shavings of parm.

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