Garlic Scape Pesto with Pasta – What in the World are Garlic Scapes?!

Pasta and Garlic Scape Pesto

What in the world are garlic scapes?  I never heard of garlic scapes until last fall when I planted 52 garlic bulbs and researched how to grow and harvest garlic.  I am loving garlic scapes!  I find that the scapes have a garlic flavor, but are slightly milder than the actual cloves.  I also made garlic scape hummus which I enjoyed immensely.  Give this Garlic Scape Pesto a try … it is habit forming.  Enjoy!

What in the world are garlic scapes?

source:  garlicfarmct.com

Garlic scapes, or flower stalks, emerge from hard-necked varieties of garlic–normally in June in Connecticut. The stalks wind up as they grow and form eccentric curlicues. Snipping off the scapes before the flowerheads mature allows the plant to direct more energy into the developing garlic bulb, and so we snip them off for a garlic scape harvest in mid-June.

When the garlic scapes are still in full curl, they are tender and succulent. They have a garlicky taste that is milder than the eventual garlic cloves, with the tender snap of just-picked asparagus. In fact, we often say that you can prepare garlic scapes pretty much any way you’d use asparagus–and more.

The garlic scape is an allium delicacy that is highly prized and traditionally used in Southern and Eastern European cuisines, along with Middle Eastern, Korean, and other Asian cuisines, which all value its subtly vegetal garlic flavor and tender-crisp texture.

Garlic scapes have many uses, from soup to salads to garnishes: grill, stir fry, use them raw on salads, blend them into hummus or habit-forming scape pesto (with or without other herbs), add them to tempura, soups, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, pasta dishes, and more. They work well as a main dish or on the side.”

Garlic Farm Legacy Scape Pesto Recipe

  • 1 cup (or less) freshly grated Parmesan cheese or other sharp Italian cheese
  • 1–2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice, adjusted to taste
  • 1/4 pound roughly chopped scapes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste

Puree scapes, olive oil, and juice in a blender or food processor until nearly smooth. (You can make a smooth paste if you prefer, but most people like a little texture in the pesto.) Gently stir in the cheese or gingerly pulse the cheese into the mixture; take it easy as you mix in the cheese to avoid making the pesto gummy by overblending. Taste and then adjust juice and salt to taste.

Store in the refrigerator to use within two or three days; freeze for longer storage. Scape pesto freezes well, and it holds its appealing green color when frozen even better than the traditional basil pesto.

I sautéed grape tomatoes and mushrooms in the pesto and added grilled chicken and tossed it with Penne pasta.

Garlic Scape Pesto and Pasta Closeup

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18 thoughts on “Garlic Scape Pesto with Pasta – What in the World are Garlic Scapes?!

  1. You are an artist in many ways and your delectable beautiful food is just one of the ways!! When are we getting together?

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. I have bunch of scapes that I am making pesto with, just found out about this as well. Thanks for posting! John

  3. Never even thought of pesto but I have plenty of scapes. I’ve yet to make friends with them as a dish. But maybe I’ll have another go. They always seem a bit tough to me but maybe I’m picking them too late. Maybe I’ll go cut some now and throw them in with my roast chicken for tonight:) And try some pesto too!

    • I’ve only used garlic scapes two times – in the pesto recipe and hummus. But I would say go ahead and try it especially since they go into the food processor. I think they keep for awhile in the fridge in a paper bag. Let me know if you try it.

  4. Pingback: Seared Scallops with Garlic Scapes and Wine « Brooklyn Locavore

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