Are you a real garlic lover? The kind that can't help but toss a clove or two any almost anything you cook. If you are, your going to love what I have in store for you today. Now, most of us when we think of garlic we either think of some light brown powder or a white papery head containing cloves of deliciousness. But there is another color that I think of when I think of garlic - and that is green! In this household we like to eat our garlic green. What am I talking about? Where they are two forms we enjoy our garlic green and it just so happens we were able to combine these two forms into the delicious recipe you will find below. What are these two forms?
Everyone knows what a green onion or scallion is. What about green garlic? Well this is the same principle. It is immature garlic with the greens still attached. It looks like green onions, except the greens are flat where as green onions are round and hollow in the middle. Green garlic is normally only found in the spring time when garlic growers thin out their plantings, so that they can have bigger bulbs. However this veggie can be grown just for green garlic. In fact that is what I have done this year. I planted some store bought garlic in the ground and watched it grow. Once it got to a good height - about 10 inches, I dug it up to enjoy - (you can read more about growing Green Garlic on my gardening blog, the pea project).
Certain varieties of garlic will begin growing a flower. The flower is cut off before it can open, so the plant puts it's energy into forming the bulb. This unopened flower is the garlic scape and it is probably the most delicious thing you can roast in your oven. It's like eating a green bean that is packed with roasty, sweet garlic flavor inside. Check out my previous post on How to Roast Garlic Scapes. I picked up my first garlic scapes on the season at my local farmer's market yesterday.
Making Green Garlic Pesto
As I was pondering what to do with my scapes and green garlic, I remembered I had some gnocchi on hand that I bought just in case I needed a quick dinner. I thought it would be fun to make pesto, but I love the scapes so much roasted, I didn't want to "waste" them. Why not turn the green garlic I had outside into the pesto and then add in the roasted garlic scapes. Couldn't wait to make dinner once I came up with that idea. The pesto is made up for green garlic, cilantro (also from my garden), sunflower seeds, olive oil, and salt & pepper.
Break Out the Gnocchi
I thought the perfect thing to go with the roasted scapes and garlic pesto would be gnocchi. Sure you can use any type of pasta, but potatoes and garlic are meant for each other. Plus the pillow like texture of gnocchi is a nice contrast to the caramelized scapes and smooth pesto. You can buy gnocchi already made in the store or you can make it yourself (like I did when I made my Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi).
For the pesto
- 5 stalks green or spring garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- juice of ½ a lemon
- ¼ cup to ½ cup olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
For the roasted garlic scapes
- 10 to 15 garlic scapes
- kosher salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the gnocchi
- 2 lbs of gnocchi
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Place the garlic scapes on a sheet pan. Toss with oil and salt. Roast until they are brown, turning half way through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
To make the pesto
- While the scapes are cooking make the pesto. Roughly chop the green garlic and add to your food processor. Add the cilantro. Process until garlic and cilantro was chopped into small pieces. Add the sunflower seeds and Parmesan cheese. Process until combined, about 30 seconds. While the machine is running drizzle in ¼ cup of olive oil. If it seems too dry or lumpy, you can add a little bit more, but no more than a ¼ cup of oil more. Add in the lemon juice and process for 10 seconds to combine. Set the pesto aside.
To make the gnocchi
- Add gnocchi to salted boiling water. As the gnocchi rises to the surface, remove from the pot. Do this until all of the gnocchi has risen about 3 to 4 minutes. To fry the gnocchi (optional step) melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the gnocchi and cook until it has browned on each side. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over top. Remove from the frying pan.
To put the final dish together
- Cut the garlic scapes into bite size pieces. Mix into the gnocchi. Serve with the pesto. It can be on the hot side so use sparely. Leftover pesto can be saved in the fridge.