Spring Green Pesto Pasta

Printemps 2016
food and drink

BY: Jennifer MacKenzie

Before the basil is at its peak, make this pesto with spring greens—garlic scapes, young kale, spinach and a little basil—for a light sauce with loads of flavour that’s perfect for small pasta shapes. If you don’t have fresh scapes see the TIP for variations with pickled scapes or cloves of garlic. The pesto can be made up to three days ahead. Place in a glass jar or container with plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate. Let warm to room temperature before adding to the pasta.

3 cups (750 mL) packed trimmed small kale and/or spinach leaves
¾ cup (175 mL) packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped garlic scapes (about 12)
⅓ cup (80 mL) shelled salted pistachios
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp (45 mL) white wine vinegar, divided
½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
12 oz (375 g) small pasta shapes (orecchiette, farfalline, gemelli, orzo, cappelletti, etc.)
Chopped shelled pistachios
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1 Combine kale and/or spinach, basil, garlic scapes, pistachios, and ½ tsp (2 mL) each of salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Pulse until very finely chopped. Add 2 tbsp (30 mL) vinegar and pulse to combine. With motor running, slowly drizzle in oil until a thick paste forms. Season to taste with salt, pepper and the remaining vinegar, if desired.

2 Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup (250 mL) cooking water.

3 Return pasta to pot and add pesto; toss to combine, adding enough of the reserved cooking water to thin pesto as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with chopped pistachios and Parmesan.

TIP If you don’t have garlic scapes, use 2 cloves garlic and increase kale and/or spinach to 3½ cups (875 mL).

To use pickled garlic scapes in place of fresh, reduce the vinegar to 1 tbsp (15 mL) to start, adding more to taste with the seasoning after tossing the pasta.

Serves 4 to 6

What to Serve