From Tuscany to Braidwood…

Pesto is one of our family staples, and we are aiming this spring and summer, to make more than we buy. 

Trent and I first made our own Pesto on a farm in Tuscany, Italy, while we were on our honeymoon a bit more than a decade ago. We used a mortar and pestle, and were blown away by the flavour. We’d always liked cooking, but that cooking class taught us how to hand make pasta, pesto and lots of Italian cuisine that ignited a real spark for real food cooking.

Our garlic plants grow a centre stem called a scape, and October and early November signals scape harvesting time, which helps strengthen the bulb, and gives us lots of garlic scapes to add to our cooking. 

Scapes have a mild garlic taste, with a kick which is almost peppery in flavour. You can substitute scapes instead of garlic in many recipes, plus grill them like asparagus, or finely chop them to add to scrambled eggs or omlets. Ask at your local farmers market, or talk to your local farmer to see if they sell scapes from their garlic.

If you’re growing garlic yourself, simply cut the scape off as low as you can without cutting any of the leaves off the garlic plant. We don’t harvest all of ours at once, we take the most developed ones each time. 

If you’ve got a whole bunch at once, or don’t have time to cook with them, simply blanch and freeze them for cooking later. The perfect way to extend the scape season!

After harvest we give them a quick rinse, and any of the scapes we are cooking with straight away, we cut the flower off and pop that in the compost. 

Today I collected our first scapes of the year, and we decided to make them into a pesto. The perfect addition to our Saturday pizza night!

Garlic Scape Pesto

Makes approximately 3 cups of pesto. Total time: 15 minutes

Recipe adapted from Vanilla and Bean

Ingredients: 

  • 20 (300g) Garlic Scapes
  • 2/3 C (80g) Pine Nuts (however this time I used 60g Sunflower seeds & 20g Walnuts, as that is what I had in the pantry)
  • 2/3 C (80g) Your favourite Parmesan chopped into cubes or shredded
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 pinches of quality Sea Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2/3 C (140g) Olive Oil

Instructions:

  1. Trim all of the bulbs off the garlic scapes, pop the bulbs in the compost and retain the remaining scapes.
  2. Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, combine the scapes, nuts, parmesan, lemon, salt and pepper until broken down.
  3. Slowly add the olive oil (If using a food processor, have it running on a medium speed and you may need to stop to scrape the bowl down).
  4. Combine until you create your preferred texture. 
  5. Store covered in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long), or freeze into portion sizes in the freezer.
  6. Enjoy your delicious pesto!!!

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