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Garlic Scape Pesto & Fresh Peas Recipe

Views: 35279 | Last Update: 2011-04-08
Garlic scape pesto is made from the neck of the garlic plant, which offers a unique twist to this Italian staple. Blend up this simple pesto using fresh ingredients from the backyard with helpful hints from an organic gardener in this free video on garden-to-table cooking. View Video Transcript

About this Author

Willi Galloway

Willi Evans Galloway loves to read, write, talk about, and teach people how to garden organically and grow their own food. For the past five years, she has worked as the West Coast Editor of Organic Gardening magazine. Willi also recently created www.digginfood.com, a site that serves up gardening and cooking inspiration. Willi lives in Seattle with her husband, four pet chickens, a lawn-destroying Labrador, and way too many tomato plants.

Video Transcript

I'm John; and I'm Willi, and we live in Seattle where we grow a lot of what we eat. In our backyard, we have chickens, bees and a big vegetable garden, and here on "Grow. Cook. Eat.", we show you how to make a meal from the garden to the table. So, I'm really excited that today we finally get to make the Garlic Scape Pesto. Yeah, it's a really good recipe, and it's basically something that really, you know, people have a great farmer's market might have access to garlic scapes and English peas, which are in the recipe, but really, growing your own garden is the best way to get those ingredients. And when they're fresh off the vine, they are so incredible, and they're pretty much really hard to find at a grocery store. Yeah, we get to use some sweet appliances, if I'm not mistaken. Yes, the Cuisinart, my favorite. So, peas are one of the best crops to grow out in the garden. They grow really well in cool seasons, so in Spring, and you can also grow them again in the Fall for a Fall crop. So, there's three main types of peas. Two of them have edible pods, and the first is a snow pea. They're really popular in Asian cuisine, and the other type of pea that has an edible pod is the sugar snap pea, and my favorite, and what's going to be in the recipe today, is an English pea, and so English peas don't have an edible pod. The pod is pretty fibrous and tough, so it's not very tasty, but on the inside is the peas. So instead of soaking, I do what's called pre-sprouting my peas. So, I have some sugar snap peas here. What you do is you take a double layer of paper towel and you get it wet, and then you put your pea seeds out on one half of the paper towel, and then you fold the paper towel the other side over the top of the peas so they're sandwiched between two layers of wet paper towel. You take the towel, you slide it into a plastic bag that has a zipper on it, and then you zip up the bag three quarters of the way, leave a little bit of air for ventilation, and you want to keep this in a warm spot. I keep it in my kitchen, and it needs to be someplace that you see that you'll remember to check on it, because you want to check on the peas every day. As soon as you see the little roots emerging, that's your cue to take the peas outside and plant them, and when you're planting peas, you want to plant them about an inch deep and an inch apart because they like to climb up each other. They support themselves in the garden. As you can see here, they're all climbing over each other, and so plant them about an inch apart. And if you really like the pea shoots, once the peas are about six inches tall, you can thin out every other plant and use those greens in salads or stir fries. Okay, so we're going to make a pasta dish that has fresh English peas and a garlic scape pesto. So, John, my Sous Chef, is doing the hard work of shelling all the peas and I am going to make the pesto. So, garlic scapes come from hard neck garlic, and they are the flower buds of the garlic, and so we're going to chop these up, and I am just using about six to eight scapes. I'm going to stick it here into the Cuisinart. John, want to do the honors? Do I ever? You just have to pulse it. Who's driving this train? You are, you are. Okay, that's good, and then we're just going to put the rest of the dry ingredients in, so put this cheese in and like I said, it's not an exact science, you just want it to taste good. And then, you also want the zest of one lemon. I like to use the microplane to zest, and I'm going to just squeeze the juice into here, so that we can pick out any seeds and we're going to stick this in, okay. Then once you do that, you want to scrape down the bowl, turn it back on and with the blade running, pour in the olive oil until you get the pesto to the consistency you like. So, it's usually between a third and a half of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I'm going to put a little bit of salt in, and then stick this lid back on and pulse it a little more because I want it to be mixed good. So, that's that. It's pretty easy to make the pesto. Now we just have to wait for the water to boil so we can do the pasta, and we'll have dinner in a few minutes. Okay, so I'm going to make the pasta for our dish here, and I'm using bucatini. Bucatini has some good body to it, so it's nice when you're using a thicker sauce like pesto. When you're making pasta, it's really important to salt the water, and you can use quite a bit of salt because it just adds more flavor to the pasta. Then, you just kind of stick the pasta in, and you want to just bend it so that it gets down in the pot so that it's all, the whole pasta cooks evenly, and you're going to need to give it a stir every once in a while so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot or together. Bucatini takes, you know, between 10 and 13 minutes to cook, and so we're going to let it go here for a little bit. So, I'm just going to take out a little bit of pasta water because it's starchy. So, when we put the sauce in, it can help spread it around. Since we have such good fresh peas from our garden, I didn't want to overcook them boiling them, so John shelled them into this colander here, and so what we're going to do is he's going to pour the hot water and the pasta right over the peas, and the heat from the pasta and the boiling water is what's going to cook them, and we're just going to let it sit here for about 30 seconds or a minute. So, the peas are cooked. The pasta is ready to go, and I'm going to put about half this pesto in. So, it's about half a cup, and then if you remember I saved a little bit of the pasta water and it will help distribute the pesto. I'm just going to put a couple tablespoons in probably, and then we're just going to stir it all around and the goal here is to get the pasta really coated evenly with the pesto. So, we just want to swirl in here. Okay, let's eat, I'm hungry. Alright. There, you can have the big one. Thank you. I know pasta is not your favorite, but I think this is really good. It's not, it's just really light and tasty. I'll let you know in a second. Okay. Umm, this is the best you've ever made. You did it again, Will. That one was really good. Yeah, I really like the garlic scapes because they're milder than just a big clove of garlic. If you really like this recipe, I encourage you to grow a lot of English peas next year, and also you can freeze that garlic scape pesto, and it's such a treat in the Winter. And you can even make it with frozen peas in the Winter and have a little bit of a taste of Summer, and if you find something that you like to add to the recipe or do something different, by all means, tell us. We want to know through email, or drop us a note on the website. Yeah, and tune in next time. We've got a lot of great recipes coming up here because it's Summer. So, there's good food in the garden and we're ready to eat.