Busy. I am sure you are just so darn tired of seeing that word when you come here. But dang if I ain’t busy. So busy that I had to make time just to make this green garlic pesto default pasta. The very idea of default pasta is it’s supposed to be easy no matter how busy you are because it takes no planning. You merely follow your instincts using whatever you have in your pantry. Oh, and garlic. Default pasta always has garlic. And yes– green garlic counts. For this and all the other Default Pasta Rules follow this link.
So how did I come to have green garlic laying about? Well, the Hollywood Farmers Market is in transition. It’s a really good time in my opinion for the market. No longer the first blush of spring, but the heat (and abundance) of summer is still a few months away. Which means there’s a lot to look at and even more to consider.
You can still find favas and sweet peas. But the first of the stone fruit are starting to make an appearance too. See what I mean? Some of this and some of that. Somewhere between spring and summer. And though the market is indeed evolving with the seasons, two of my springtime favorites can still be found. Green garlic and spring onions.
At first glance these two vegetables appear sorta similar. They look like a crude cousin of a scallion. A bit bigger, a bit leafier and slightly bulbous. But they’re really just younger versions of onions and garlic. These vegetables are harvested early and sold fresh without the curing process that develops the dry papery skins. Green garlic and spring onions also are sold with the greens attached, which are edible. In fact they are delicious and I usually use almost all of the greens when I work with these vegetables.
Green Garlic Pesto
Choosing both green garlic and spring onions in the green garlic pesto is easy. Look for crisp tops and white, pink or purple bulbs. Once you get them home you can slice them and use them as you would a scallion. They both have milder flavors than their more mature versions and are best when used in dishes that highlight their delicacy.
Some ideas for using them include: Grilled along with meat and served alongside. Chopped and sauteed with fresh morel mushrooms which can be spread on flatbread or served with toast slices. You could also simmer them with potatoes and chicken broth, then drain away the liquid to serve as the base for a flavorful version of mashed potatoes. I also like to add them to ragoûts. Layering other vegetables in the pan in order of their cooking times.
But today I am simply using them together in a simple pasta dish. It’s really a classic pesto where I replaced the basil with green garlic and spring onions.
- 1/4 c pine nuts
- 1 bn arugula (cleaned & roughly chopped)
- 5 small bulbs green garlic, with about 3‑inches of greens (cleaned & roughly chopped)
- 5 small spring onions, with about 3‑inches of greens (cleaned & roughly chopped)
- 6 large fresh basil leaves (chopped)
- 1/4 c parmesan cheese to taste (freshly grated, plus more for garnish)
- 1/2 c extra-olive oil (or more or less as needed)
- 1 pn each salt & pepper to taste
- 1 lb angel hair pasta
Lightly toast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until the nuts begin to brown slightly and are fragrant, about 2 minutes
Using a blender or food processor pulse the pine nuts, arugula, green garlic, spring onions, basil, cheese and half the olive oil, until a thick paste is achieved. Add a little water (1 or 2 teaspoons) if the texture is too dry.
With the machine running drizzle in as much as the remaining oil as necessary to get a good consistency. A little thick is fine, as you will adjust later with pasta water. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper as you like.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to package instructions until al dente. Drain (reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the pesto sauce, adding a bit of water to assist in mixing. Turn the pasta out onto a serving platter, garnish with a bit more cheese. Serve warm.
green garlic pesto