Garlic Scape Pesto

scapesEach year, for a fleeting spring moment, our produce department carries garlic scapes. These green curly cues are like the promise of warm, lengthening days in food form. Grown from hardneck garlic, this tender delicacy is much sought-after by foodies. It’s a little grassy, a whole lot garlic-y, and conveys the feeling of fresh breezes on a rolling field.

One of my friends looks forward to pickling scapes each year. I, on the other hand, seize the moment and grasshopper-like, devour them all at once in pesto form. Their meteoric burst of flavor is something I look forward to each year.

We paired our spring treat with a Sauvignon Blanc from Selby Winery. The pesto brought out a creaminess in the wine, and the wine’s brightness complimented the grassy garlic flavors of the dish.
scape pesto pasta

Garlic Scape Pesto


serves 2

12 garlic scapes
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts
about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Throw everything but the oil in a food processor. Pulse a few times until everything is chopped and integrated. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is turned on. Stop drizzling oil when it gets to the right consistency, around the same thickness as a tapenade or dip. Toss with your favorite pasta.

Celebrating Scapes

One of the things I thoroughly enjoy about the local produce season getting under way is the challenge of the hunt. Since I discovered garlic scapes a couple of years ago, I eagerly anticipate their addition to the produce shelves. They’re only around for a short time, so the scapes have to be celebrated and savored while they’re here.

My favorite recipe for garlic scapes is from Dorie Greenspan’s blog. It’s a lovely, vibrant pesto made with scapes, parmesan, and almonds.

I toss the pesto with some al dente fettuccine, sprinkled some extra parmesan on top, and Kablam – it’s a taste sensation. The intense flavors of garlic and greenness dance upon the taste buds in a very pleasing samba.  We love pairing the pasta with a Viognier. The garlic amazingness brings out pear flavors in the wine that are lovely counterpoints, while the acidity helps the wine hold its own against the strength of the garlic.

One of our local bread bakers is also using scapes right now, in an amazing creation she calls “Armenian Spring Bread.” It’s quite tasty on its own and is an awesome side to pasta.

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