This herbaceous, cheesy and bright pesto comes together quickly in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. The orange was a last minute inspiration/experiment that went very well. As my 8 year old said “The smell when you put your face over it is incredible!” This makes about 2 cups. I used half on 1lb. of pasta. I saved the rest which I will use on grilled fish in a couple of days, can’t wait!
This recipe can easily be adjusted to other greens that you may have. If you don’t have scapes they can be replaced with a similar volume of greens and about 1 clove of garlic per 2 cups of greens. As for the greens for pesto… basil, arugula, kale, carrot tops, parsley, spinach, watercress, broccoli rabe, scallions… let me know what you decide to go with! You can also substitute any nut you prefer or go nut free.
10 Garlic Scapes (chopped fine if using a mortar and pestle)
2-3 cups Fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 cup Walnuts (sub pumpkin or sunflower seeds for a nut-free version!)
1 Orange (Zest and juice to taste) (sub lemon if you don’t have an orange)
1/2-1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-11/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (grate directly into the bowl you plan to mix the final product in and keep it close, you may want to add more!) (a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast can be used to make this vegan.)
Salt to taste
1. Wash and thoroughly dry your produce. In a food processor place the scapes and pulse several times, then add the basil and pulse until fine, scraping the sides with a spatula as needed. Add the orange zest, a couple of pinches of salt and the walnuts and pulse 4-5 times or until the walnuts are finely chopped.
2. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the EVOO until you reach the consistency that you enjoy your pesto. I used about 8oz.
3. Lastly, pour the pesto over the cheese that you grated into a medium mixing bowl, scraping it all out of the food processor and mix into the cheese. Cut off about 1/3 of the orange and squeeze the juice in, then season to taste with salt more cheese and orange juice until it is well balanced.
When storing your extra pesto, put it in the container, then gently tap it against the counter before placing the top on. The oil will rise to the top and keep the beautiful green pesto beneath from browning. If you didn’t put in enough oil for this, you can add a little on top.
Pesto uses (in case you want to make a big batch!):
Sauce for your favorite pasta, served hot or cold.
Mixed in with Mayo for an incredible spread.
Mixed into Hummus for a special dip.
Frozen in ice cube trays and used as flavoring for soups throughout the year.
Garnish for your favorite protein.
Baked into your next loaf of bread.
I got the scapes and most of the basil from my Week 1 CSA from my favorite local farm. Make this recipe quick while scapes are still available! Enjoy!