pasta with basil and garlic scape pesto

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Here’s a nice dish to have along with a lovely salad of sweet baby greens and poppy seed vinaigrette!  We picked up some garlic scapes (the green and kind of curly guys in the above photo) and basil at the farmers’ market, and this was a tasty way to use them both at the same time.  This pesto version got raves.  The tomato adds moisture without really adding tomato flavor, so you don’t have to use as much olive oil to get a good consistency for the pesto.  This is a fast, delicious summer dish – and this recipe makes more than enough pesto, which means you can still enjoy garlic scapes after they’re long gone from the farmers’ market (or your garden).   In addition to pairing well with pasta, this pesto would also work well on pizza, perhaps one with roasted vegetables.

How to freeze pesto: Freeze whatever pesto you may have left in an ice cube tray, with plastic wrap over the top.  If you’re worried about staining your white ice cube tray, you can line it with plastic wrap before adding the pesto, but be careful not to bunch any plastic up around the edges, or it can get frozen into the pesto cubes.  The next day, you can pop the cubes out of the tray and keep them in a freezer bag in the freezer.  This makes it easier to portion out pesto, as you can thaw just a few cubes at a time, if you want.  Note:  many will tell you not to freeze pesto after you have added cheese.  I have never had a problem with this, but wanted to mention it.

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Pasta with Basil and Garlic Scape Pesto

Yields: 4 (generous) to 6 (reasonable) servings

Ingredients

15 (or so) garlic scapes, ends trimmed, roughly chopped
1 bunch basil leaves
1/2 cup almonds, toasted in a dry skillet until lightly toasted
1/3 cup olive oil
1 to 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound bucatini, or other pasta
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter or additional olive oil

Method

  1. Combine the basil, garlic scapes, tomato, salt, and half of the oil in a food processor (or blender).  Process until finely chopped, then add the nuts and remaining oil (total oil 1/3 cup).  Process until fairly smooth.
  2. Remove to bowl and stir in the cheese.  Add more olive oil or salt if needed.
  3. Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions.  Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
  4. While pasta is cooking, saute mushrooms in a large skillet in butter or olive oil (1 tablespoon) for 6 to 7 minutes
  5. Toss pasta with the mushrooms, and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pesto, adding some of the pasta water to create a creamier texture.
  6. Serve immediately with additional Romano cheese, if desired.
  7. Freeze remaining pesto in ice cube trays and store in the freezer in bags.
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