Monday, July 13, 2015

Scape-Basil Pesto

In years past, Andy and I have participated in a Crop Sharing Agreement (CSA) with local farms in the Ann Arbor area.  Since moving out of downtown last year, we decided to skip the CSA this summer and make a point to go to the Farmer's Market for our produce on Saturdays and Wednesdays instead!

Overall, more of an effort is required this way since we have to 'shop' rather than just pick up a box of goodies, but this way we will get more of the things we really want and eat - like carrots and tomatoes - and less of the things we don't want, like beets and radishes.  I love beets but boy are they a lot of work!

On our first trip to the Farmer's Market, we naturally migrated toward the farm we have experience with (Frog Holler) and found, among the kale and lettuce that we purchased, a bunch of garlic scapes.  Interesting!  I've never cooked with garlic scapes but I was feeling nostalgic about our usual "wtf csa" moments and I scooped them up.

When I got home and looked up recipes, I thought I would find more options.  But it turns out garlic scapes are to be used just like garlic for the most part, although the garlic scape is more mild than a garlic clove.

I decided to use this Crisper Whisperer recipe's ingredients as a guideline while using my method of making Homemade Basil Pesto.  Once the pesto was made, I cooked up a few other ingredients in our fridge and pantry to make a pasta dish that is worth remembering!

Hence the wordy, picture-light blog post :)

Linguine in Scape-Basil Pesto Tomato Sauce with Italian Sausage & Zucchini Blossoms

Ingredients for the Scape-Basil Pesto:

1/4 c pine nuts
1/2 c chopped garlic scapes
1/2 c chopped basil leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Ingredients for the rest of the pasta dish:

2 Italian sausages in casing
Handful of zucchini blossoms, with centers removed
Any extra garlic scapes coarsely chopped
1/2 c San Marzano crushed tomatos
Linguine, or your favorite type of pasta
Extra fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for serving
Fresh basil leaves


Begin to boil your water for pasta.  While you're preparing the sauce, keep an eye on the pasta water and prepare pasta as directed on the box.

Squeeze the raw sausage out of the casing into a 4-qt nonstick pot on medium heat.  Using a spatula break the sausage up into crumbles and cook through.  Using tongs, pluck out cooked sausage and rest on a plate covered in paper towel, like you would bacon.  Carefully pour grease out of the pan and wipe with a clean paper towel.  Add the extra garlic scapes and cook on medium heat in the remnants of the sausage grease.  Add the zucchini blossoms, crushed tomatoes and 3 generous scoops of the pesto.  Stir it all up, add the cooked and slightly drained sausage crumbles, and heat the sauce through.

Once pasta is cooked and drained, add to the pot with the sauce and toss until coated.  Don't add too much pasta to the sauce, you want about one to one ratio.

Using tongs, twirl up a generous helping of pasta for your plate, sprinkle with some extra Parmigiano Reggiano and garnish with a fresh basil leaf - bon appetito!

UPDATE:  I found an article with some other uses for Garlic Scapes.  The pickled scapes sound delicious but I'd be more likely to put them raw on a salad or in a bouquet for ease!  Enjoy :)

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