Thursday, July 15, 2010

Looks Can Be Deceiving - Garlic Scape & Basil Pesto

This is one of those recipes where I have to say, trust me this is delicious. I wish I had sprinkled some basil on the top of this for color. It doesn't look very appealing but it was delicious!

Garlic scapes are the flower stalks found on members of the Allium family (onions, leeks, chives, and garlic). Garlic scapes, which only appear on the finest hardneck garlic varieties, curl upward as they grow, straighten, and then grow little seed-like bulbs. When the garlic scapes are still in full curl, they are tender and delicious.

A few weeks ago, I picked up some garlic scapes at the farmer’s market. I’d never cooked with them before. At the stand where I purchased them, the grower said she uses them wherever she would use garlic. They can be used in frittatas, pasta and stir fry’s. When you use them in stir fry’s, they add a natural cornstarch like thickener.

We love pesto in the summertime. When I saw this recipe for Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto, I couldn’t wait to try it. Also, I was intrigued because this recipe uses almonds. I always make my pesto with those wonderful, yet expensive pine nuts.

This pesto is a refreshing change from traditional pesto. The garlic scapes add a nice bite and the almonds add a sweetness to the pesto.

Pasta with Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto
Courtesy of Serious Eats

- serves 4 -

4 to 5 garlic scapes, roughly chopped
Large handful basil leaves
1/4 cup almonds, toasted in a dry skillet until slightly browned
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound linguine or other pasta

1. Combine the garlic scapes, basil, and half the oil in a small food processor or blender. Process or blend until the leaves and scapes are finely chopped, then add the nuts and remaining oil. Process or blend until nicely pureed.

2. Remove to a bowl and stir in the cheese. If necessary, add more olive oil to create a loose paste. Season with more salt if needed.

3. In the meantime, bring a large pot of salty water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and toss with the pesto. If necessary, add some of the pasta water to create a creamy texture. Serve with more grated Parmesan cheese.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum. Also, I am participating in my first Presto Pasta Nights. Pam from Sidewalk Shoes is hosting this week. I love her blog, stop by and check it out.


  1. This looks seriously yummy! I am assuming that you could use just garlic in it? I have never seen garlic scapes. Thanks for the recipe. Joni

  2. So totally up my alley!! I will be trying this recipe next week...if I can't find scapes, what would you suggest as a substitute?

  3. Julie, I just love garlic scapes! And pesto!!!
    This looks like the most wonderful recipe. I'm making this next week.
    I post a weekly menu. So I'll post a link back to this post.
    Yummy! I can't wait to try it. But I'll have to wait until Thursday~ my local market in my small town is only open on Thursdays and they have scapes!
    So yummy! Thanks for the recipe and your kind comments!

  4. I think you could substitute garlic for the garlic scapes. You can also substitute pine nuts or even walnuts for the almonds. I love to try different types of pesto!

  5. You are both daring and creative.

  6. I made pesto pasta last night but I wish I'd seen this recipe first as it looks much better! Thanks for sharing it.

    Best wishes,

  7. Great dish and wonderful first Presto Pasta Night entry. I do hope you plan on joining in the fun often!

    Garlic scapes are fantastic and I love your pesto version. It's bookmarked!

  8. That looks so good and would be great for my husband when he comes home from rehab.

  9. Hi Julie: I just found your blog. Our market has garlic scapes and this recipe looks delicious. I'm going to have to eat something before I explore your blog further!!!!


  10. I think I might, just might, still have some garlic scapes in the fridge! Thanks for entering!

  11. Oh I trust you girl - the flavors here sound delicious :)

  12. Wow! That looks seriously delicious!! I really wanted some right this instant!! Thanks for the info on the garlic scrapes. I have seen them but had no idea you could eat them.

  13. This sounds awesome!! Garlic scapes are one of those things I've always wanted to try, but haven't been able to procure...even at the Farmer's Market :( I love almonds, too....totally want to try this!!

  14. Your pasta looks delicious, I have to look for garlic scapes, haven't seen them. Sounds good with almonds as a change from the pine nuts!

  15. I have been in the mood for pasta without a red sauce and I will trust you, just as you said, that this is delicious. I just might try it tomorrow evening! Thanks for posting :)

  16. Topped with basil or not, this looks wonderful!

  17. Looks delish! I know those garlic scapes make it good.

  18. I would so love to try this, but garlic scapes are near impossible to find here.

  19. I love any kind of pesto. Just posted a recipe for sun-dried tomato but I'm going to try this one for sure. Thanks for the recipe.

  20. Never heard of a garden scape before. Your pasta with pesto looks delish. I will have to try this great looking dish as I have plenty of onions out in the garden.


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