A garlic scape is the flower stem of the garlic plant. It is removed so the garlic plant will put its energy into growing a bigger bulb instead of a flower. Those stems have a wonderful fresh garlic flavor. I find they tend to be a little milder than your average garlic clove. You can chop them up and use them to replace garlic in recipes, but we like to turn them into Garlic Scape Pesto that we can freeze to use all year.
Matt thought the mild garlic flavor would be great with the spring peas we picked up last week. And even better in a mac and cheese.
This was a fabulous spring mac and cheese. The flavors are so balanced between the spicy scapes, sweet peas and salty cheese. The peas are puréed, so when they and the pesto are added to the cheese sauce everything turns a lovely shade of light green. Fusilli is a great shape pasta for this dish because it holds lots of the sauce in its corkscrews.
Spring Green Mac and Cheese
2/3 lb fusilli
1 T unsalted butter
2 T all-purpose flour
1 c half and half (you could also just use milk)
5 oz gruyere, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 oz white cheddar, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 c garlic scape pesto
1 1/2 - 2 c sweet pea pods, puréed (you want to end up with about 1 cup of pea purée)
freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook while stirring for 1 minute, do not let it brown. Slowly whisk in the half and half to create a thick white sauce. Stir in the cheese until melted. Add the pesto and pea purée and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Mix the pasta and sauce together until the pasta is completely covered. Pour into a large casserole.
Sprinkle some panko on top. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is crispy.
Makes about 4 servings.
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