Monday, June 20, 2011

re-thinking pesto

One of my scores at the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning was a big, inexpensive bunch of garlic scapes -- and after throwing a few, chopped, into my stir-fry on Saturday night, I was sill left with most of a big bunch of garlic scapes . . . what to do?

My friend Courtney suggested I turn the scapes into peso, so after a quick google search and glimpses at a few different recipes, I started chopping, blending, and devised this gorgeous sauce:

Yum! The light, lemony garlic flavor and gorgeous, pale-green color were definite winners in my book . . . but now, what to do with my scape pesto?

I wasn't really feeling like pasta, and wanted something healthier . . . (I only have refined-flour pasta on hand at the moment,) . . . and I glanced at my rows of grains and lentils lining my kitchen shelf. Maybe if I made a sort of bland bean-grain dish and topped it with the pesto, that would work?

Barley and Chickpeas with Garlic Scape Pesto was born:

For the Pesto:
1 cup garlic scapes, chopped (remove flowery tops first)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
water as needed to thin the sauce

For the Barley and Chickpeas:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp salt
freshly-grated pepper to taste
1 cup pearled barley
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed if from a can
3 cups water
1/2 cup thinly-sliced dried tomatoes
5 cups fresh spinach

1. Make the pesto: add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree. Continue to thin with water until the sauce is well blended, still thick, but pourable.
2. In a 3 to 4 quart pot, saute the onion in the olive oil until soft. Add the salt, pepper, and barley, and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the chickpeas and water, and bring to a boil.
3. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer the barley for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in the dried tomatoes, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
5. Stir in the spinach, cover, and steam for 5 minutes. Serve the barley with the pesto

I'm glad I decided to choose a different avenue for my pesto than the traditional pasta, because this worked beautifully! The healthy, somewhat bland bean and grain dish was the perfect avenue for the flavorful, assertive sauce. Yum! A definite winner.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with the rest of my pesto . . . maybe I'll toss it with some pasta after all! :)


Cielo y Miel said...

Seems like it might make a tasty salad dressing too??

Amy P. said...

I have the same issue with garlic scape pesto, what to do with it all? It's so potent and fun to eat at first, but put it on pasta and it's like a garlic bomb. I like your idea of putting it on some whole grains.