Pesto as we know it, has Basil leaves as the ‘green’ base. I find using the homemade version is so much more flavoursome than shop bought versions. Yes, shop bought are convenient. Make it fresh and you will taste every ingredient of Pesto. It takes less than 20 minutes to make (provided you have all the ingredients), whilst the dried Pasta is cooking, the Pesto can be made fresh within the Pasta’s cooking time.
This version uses Garlic Scapes. Scapes or (Garlic) Flowers are formed on Hardneck varieties of Garlic, when the outdoor growing conditions fluctuate from two extremes: cold and wet to hot and dry, sending flower stalks out; as we have had this year.
Garlic Scapes, or Garlic flowers buds need to be removed as soon as possible. Once done so, you look at these Scapes and utter a few frustrating words at them, like they understand what you are saying. We utter these words, knowing, had we not cut these off, all the plant’s energy would gone into producing flowers, but Gardeners want the energy to go down into the bulbs. So it was off with your heads; flower heads that is.You only need a few Garlic Scapes to make this Pesto. Remove and discard the flower head part and chop up the stalk. Basil leaves are added to the base but only six or seven leaves. This is a Garlic Pesto, therefore Basil is only a back note flavour. If you haven’t any Basil, that is perfectly ok, too.A few gratings of Parmesan Cheese, a good handful of Pine nuts and with a generous glug of Olive Oil, turns these unwanted stalks into delicious Pesto, to pimp up your Pasta or even make Bruschetta style snack; and my favourite; drizzled onto soup.This Pesto will keep for 2 weeks in the Fridge in an airtight container. With every use, keep it topped up with a layer of Olive Oil. This keeps the Pesto from going off.
Hope you enjoy making this Pesto, my favourite way to use, place a spoonful of homemade Pesto into a bowl, ‘thin it‘ down with a little Olive Oil and drizzling it generously onto a bowl of Leek and Potato Soup. I could have this topping on vegetable soup every day of the week.
What’s your favourite way of using Pesto?
Garlic Scape Pesto
A seasonal alternative to Basil based Pesto with a Garlic kick with just a hint of Basil.
- 10-15 Fresh Garlic Scapes, washed with flower heads removed; stalks roughly chopped
- 70g Pine Nuts
- 30g Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 5-6 Fresh Basil leaves
- 1/2tsp Rock Sea Salt
- In a small Food Processor place the chopped Scape stalks with Basil leaves, Salt and a little Olive Oil. Blitz until nearly smooth.
- Add Cheese and a little more Oil. Blitz, add more Oil as and when required; to achieve a smooth paste.
- Finally add the Pine Nuts and hit the pulse button a few times. This will roughly chop the nuts, but if you like your Pesto smooth, hit the Blitz button .
- Place Pesto in an air tight jar, pouring the rest of the Olive Oil over the top, which will act as a seal. A little more Oil may be required.
- Keep in the Fridge and use within 2 weeks.