Saturday, July 7, 2012

Garlic Scape Pesto Linguine

So, you just got garlic scapes from your farmer's market or CSA box, and you just made garlic scape pesto. What shall you eat it with? Pasta, of course!

This is a pretty versatile recipe in which you could use traditional basil pesto, and it is yet ANOTHER way to make a pesto sauce for pasta. Typically my pesto pasta recipes can be made with straight up pesto and pasta water to thin it out. However the sharpness of the garlic scape pesto warranted the pesto being cut with a little heavy cream and some cheese. What's wrong with a little heavy cream?

I garnished mine with some tomatoes and leftover pinenuts, which you can certainly omit. But, I like the color they add and the different flavor and texture they provided. This would be really good with Summer Zucchini Pasta with Pesto too.

The recipe written below will make enough sauce to coat 1/2 box of linguine.
Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces dried linguine, pasta water reserved
  • 1/4 cup garlic scape pesto
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup shredded provolone or parmesan cheese - whatever you've got. I had provolone so that's what I used
  • 1/4 Diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 Tbs Pine nuts (optional)
Directions:
  1. In pot of salted boiling water, cook linguine until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain. 
  2. In large skillet on medium, heat pesto and heavy cream until bubbling. Add cheese, pasta and 1/4 cup of pasta water. Quickly stir and saute the pasta until sauce thickens. If sauce thickens too much, thin it with another splash of cream or pasta water. 
  3. Serve immediately, top with diced tomatoes and pine nuts.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Garlic Scape Pesto


A couple weeks ago I got garlic scapes in my CSA box. Not having cooked with garlic scapes before led me on a search for 1) what they are 2) recipes (of course). Apparently garlic scapes are just the green curly tops of a growing bulb of garlic. They have a fresh, mellow garlic flavor and hands down the most popular recipe made with garlic scapes is a pesto. Perfect! I love pesto!

I didn't have too many scapes on hand, so I essentially halved the recipe as my starting point and added more of whatever I needed as I went. My guiding recipe was from Dorie Greenspan in which I subbed pine nuts instead of the almonds in the recipe. Despite the garlic scape's supposed "mellow" flavor, my pesto was quite pungent and required a little more oil, cheese, and nuts than the recipe called for. Pesto is one of those things you need to taste as you go and tweak to your liking. I ended up tossing in a couple basil leaves too, since I had them growing in the garden.

Ultimately this is a delicious way to use garlic scapes. It made about 1/2 of a cup and was delicious made into a pesto pasta, and would be equally yummy as a dip for veggies, topping on crackers, or stirred into a pot of italian tortellini soup (which is what I plan to do with it in a couple days).

Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan, halved below
Ingredients:

  • About 5-7 garlic scapes with the "bulbous" part cut off, discarded and remaining stems rough chopped
  • 1/8 - 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 cup of pinenuts
  • 2 basil leaves
  • About 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (optional. If added will preserve green color and punch up the freshness)

Directions: 

  1. In food processor combine garlic scapes, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and basil leaves. Pulse to chop up ingredients. With olive oil ready, turn food processor on and add olive oil and process until combined and smooth. Stop processor, taste and season with salt, lemon juice and any other ingredients you feel need increased...this is where you taste as you go, adding more as needed. 
  2. The pesto can be pretty pungent, but will mellow after a day or so in the fridge. Store in the fridge for a couple days tightly covered, or for a couple months in the freezer. 



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Homemade Pasta Dough

I recently purchased a pasta roller after one of my cooking classes at Orange Tree Imports. Making pasta seemed like something that should be easy enough to do. And, honestly it really was! I think the most difficult thing about making the pasta is just having enough hands to coordinate the rolling through the machine, especially when you're using a hand-crank version and not one that attaches to your Kitchen-Aid.

The recipe I used wasn't one that I spent tons of time looking for. So, are there better, more authentic pasta recipes out there that DON'T use all-purpose flour? Probably. But, I was looking for something I could make quickly with ingredients I had on hand.

Results were pretty good! I thought these noodles would be a little more delicate and light, and would therefore do well in a carbonara sauce. However, these turned out a bit thicker and stronger than I expected and could have held up to a much heartier sauce. Probably would make a great lasagna noodle!

I think this recipe,while not perfect or uber-traditional, is a great starting point for learning how to make pasta. Next time I'll roll the dough even thinner, make sure I don't over-knead, and continue to refine things!

Recipe from Cooking Channel, makes 4-6 servings.
Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil


Directions:


  1. Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center making a well in the middle of the flour with steep sides.
  2. Break the eggs into the well. Add the salt, and olive oil to the hollow center and gently mix together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape.
  3. With your hands or a bench scraper continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if too wet or sticky, add a little flour.
  4. Begin kneading the dough and keep kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, set the dough aside, cover it with plastic, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow it to return to room temperature before rolling it out.
  5. Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Keep each section covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel while you work with each one. Flour the dough, the rollers of a pasta roller (or your rolling pin), your hands, and the work surface.
  6. If using a pasta machine: Flatten 1 of the of the dough pieces between your hands or with a floured rolling pin until it forms a thick oval disk. Dust the disk, the roller, and your hands with additional flour. Flour a baking sheet to hold the rolled out finished pasta.
  7. With the roller on the widest setting, pass the pasta through the machine's rollers a few times until it is smooth. Fold the dough over into 1/3, and continue to pass through a few more times until the pasta is smooth again. Begin adjusting the pasta machine settings to become thinner, passing the dough through a few times at each setting.
  8. If rolling the pasta by hand: Flatten a dough piece into a thick oval disk with your hands. Flour a baking sheet for the rolled out finished pasta. Place the oval dough disk on a floured work surface, and sprinkle with additional flour. Begin rolling out the dough with a floured rolling pin working from the center of the dough outwards, constantly moving the dough and lifting it to make sure it's not sticking.