Garlic Scape Pesto Pasta with Chicken

KB loves garlic scapes.  I remember the first time we had them.  On a whim, we bought a bunch at the farmer’s market in Montana. We sauteed them in a little olive oil with salt and pepper and some sliced carrots.  They were delicious.  Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant.  They are usually only harvested once a year to make the bulb thicken up.  So it’s extremely hard to find them year-round…in fact you probably can’t.

I was on a mission to find them this year, since KB specifically requested them.  But I also had a vacation trip planned for the last week of June (when they are in season).  I managed to find a few bunches while on vacation in Ohio and brought them back to CT for KB (since he stayed behind).  We ate them stir-fried, but I saved about half a bunch so I could make some garlic scape pesto.  I found the original recipe here: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-with-garlic-scape-pesto-395769  and I modified it slightly, since I like a bit of a cheesier pesto.

Start by processing the garlic scapes, pistachios, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

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While the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil until it reaches the correct consistency.  You can use this in any way you want – on garlic bread as a spread, over pasta, on pizza, or freeze it.

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Meanwhile, boil corkscrew (cavatappi) pasta until al dente.  You can actually use any kind of short pasta, but I like cavatappi because it has ridges and plenty of nooks and crannies to soak up the pesto.

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In a large pot, saute onions in olive oil.

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Add cut up chicken breast and cook for about 5-7 minutes.

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Add cooked pasta.

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Add pesto.

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Mix to combine.

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Pour into baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese.

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Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, until top is golden brown and cheese is melted.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Recipe:

For the pesto:
12-14 garlic scapes
1/2 cup pistachios
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup olive oil (maybe a little more)

For the pasta dish:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
16 oz cavatappi pasta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or more if you like)
about 2/3 cup garlic scape pesto

First, make the pesto.  In the food processor, combine garlic scapes, pistachios, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  While the food processor is running, drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency (like a paste).  Set aside.  Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente.  In a large pot, saute onions in olive oil.  Add chicken and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until cooked through.  Add pasta and garlic scape pesto.  Mix to combine.  Add more pesto if needed – it should coat all the pasta and chicken well.  Place in a baking dish and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until top is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Serve and enjoy!

Caroline