Casareccia with Pea and Garlic Scape Pesto
The heat wave persists and I swore I’d stick with cool food for a while but I just could’t resist the exploding garlic scapes in my garden.
I wasn’t sure what the heat would do to the poor greens, speeding up the season and making them woody and go to bloom. Not only a waste to miss, I’d shrink my future garlic bulb harvest since picking these spicy delicacies forces the growth back down the plant to the bulb.
I picked them all – thin and tender, full of pure early garlic zest.
I thought to substitute them them for the garlic cloves in a standard basil pesto but I’m glad I settled differently. I had sugar snap peas on hand, which I love-love! I thought they would balance the zip of the garlic and cut the heat. Add the classic flavour of a delicious tossed pine nut and a bit of lemon with thyme -Mmm. Something I had to share for Presto Pasta night.
It finished even lighter than expected, so just for summer kicks I served it topped with some grilled vegetable skewers of zucchini, red peppers, tofu and mushrooms – This super smoky finish was pure summer goodness.
SUGAR SNAP PEA & GARLIC SCAPE PESTO
2 Cups Furled Scapes (about 1 cup roughly chopped)
1/2 Cup Sugar Snap Peas, washed and threaded
1/3 Cup Pine Nuts, toasted
4 – 5 Marinated Artichoke hearts, optional but delicious
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme
1/3 Cup Olive Oil, or drizzle until desired, spreadable consistency
1 teaspoon lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 450g of dried Carareccia pasta.
Cook to the package directions, about 8 – 9 minutes to al dente.
Heat a sautée pan over medium high and add the pine nuts, tossing frequently to toast.
Once golden, remove the nuts from the heat and set aside.
In the bowl of an food processor, add the garlic scapes, peas and artichokes, if using; pulsing to mince.
Add the lemon juice, pine nuts, thyme, salt and pepper. Continue on a medium speed to incorporate.
With the motor running, drizzle the oil through the feed tube. Blend until smooth and consistent.
Taste and adjust seasoning where necessary.
To take this from vegan to vegetarian, blend in a 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese to finish.
Drain the cooked pasta and toss with the prepared pesto to coat evenly.
For extra taste and texture, I added a cupful of frozen green peas.
Garnish with a pinch of fresh thyme leaves.
Serves 4 – 6