Garlic Scape and Fresh Pea Pesto: In which I make a summery dish…

Garlic scapes

It’s scape week at B&G! Like Shark Week without terrifying sea dwelling man eating beasts. It’s also been a very busy couple of weeks around here, you see, readers, I am in love. I’ve only known him six days, and there is a fair amount of competition for his affection, but I think this could be going places…welcome to the world Baby L.

Scapes are a treat. If you’ve never had them, they are the flowering stalk of the hard neck garlic bulb plant. Obvs. They sprout in the spring out of the top of the garlic bulb, and when the top starts to curl, it’s harvest time. That up there is about a half pound of them. About three dollars worth. So far I’ve used them for a lovely garlic scape and fresh pea pesto, a shrimp and garlic scape fried rice, and a garlic scape compound butter, and they are still kicking. They go a long way. Scapes taste like a mellow garlic. They have that nice garlic flavor without the kick and the bad breath. Perfect, really.

When you look up scapes on the webs, you can’t get very far without someone raving about pesto, so I figured I would do that, but I wanted to add my own twist. And then I found peas.


They had English shell peas at the farmers’ market. These are basically frozen peas in their just picked form, and I thought they would add some nice sweetness to the pesto.

The rest of the ingredients were pretty traditional. Toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and voila, a pesto was born.

look at all that green!

I very quickly blanched the peas and roughly chopped the scapes, and through them in the food processor with some lightly toasted pine nuts, and then added salt, pepper and a generous dose of grated parmesan and let the processor do its work.

almost there

Then, with the processor running, I added the olive oil, and a sauce was born.

garlic scape and fresh pea pesto

I love the color of this. It is so bright and happy.

I had it the first night with a buttery fried egg, and I loved that addition, but I had it the next day room temperature for lunch at work. Nothing fancy, just right out of the plastic container, and I will tell you what, it was even better. The scapes had a chance to mellow just a little bit and the sweetness of the peas was more pronounced and it was awesome. If you have a farmers’ market or a whole foods near you, take a look for garlic scapes and fresh shell peas, though I suspect frozen would work in a pinch.

summer's best work

And this is not only a pasta sauce. It would be great on crostini or as a sandwich spread, or with grilled fish or chicken or even beef. Why limit yourself? Also, a fantastic thing to make if you don’t have air conditioning and just walking in the front door of the apartment makes you sweat.

Music recommendation for the week: Rihanna. For serious. I love her.

Live like it’s Scape Week.

Garlic Scape and Fresh Pea Pesto (makes approx. 1.5 cups, enough for one pound of dried pasta)

3/4 cup fresh peas (from about 3/4 lb fresh English shell peas)

generous half cup roughly chopped garlic scapes (approx. 8-9 scapes)

2 tbl pine nuts, lightly toasted (if you love nuts, feel free to up this to 3 tbls. I’m betting it will still be delicious!)

1 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more for serving

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb dried linguine

Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. In the mean time, lightly toast the pine nuts and set aside.

Heat a small saucepan over medium high heat to a high simmer/low boil. Add a pinch of salt and the peas, and cook for barely 30 seconds. Drain peas and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Add the peas, the garlic scapes and the pine nuts to the bowl of the food processor with a pinch of salt and a few twists of fresh pepper. Pulse the processor until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Add the cheese and turn the processor on. Pour the oil through the pour spout slowly, while the processor is running, until the pesto is an almost creamy looking sauce (this will just take a minute.) Toss with the drained pasta, and let cool. This is best served room temperature. If so inclined, fry an egg sunny side in butter and serve over the pasta with additional parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy leftovers as much if not more!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s