Monday, July 11, 2016

Farmer's Market Spaghetti with Garlic Scape Pesto

Have you jumped on the farmer's market bandwagon?

Other than being a spectacular Instagram stop, these markets are the best way to get fresh, affordable, local and in-season fruits and veggies during the year. My favorite way to tackle the farmer's markets in Boston is to go take a slow stroll through each stand; rather than going with a list, I go in and simply choose whatever produce looks the best to me that day.

This recipe for Farmer's Market Spaghetti with Garlic Scape Pesto is the perfect base for any vegetables you fancy! It's fresh and light, yet fulfilling and packed with great flavor. 

My market had giant beautiful zucchinis this week, so I knew I had to come away with a few of those. I also was in love with the bunches of onions, fresh fennel, and big bundles of basil. With basil in hand, pesto was certainly in my near future. To put a fun, fresh spin on an old classic, I grabbed a few garlic scapes--that is, the bud of the flower on a garlic plant. This isn't a particularly common grocery store ingredient, but in late June and early July, farmer's markets are brimming with them! They have a softer garlic flavor and can be used in any way you might use a scallion or fresh, of course...PESTO!

Along with the pesto, I chop and dice the zucchinis, onions and fennel then saute them in a bit of butter and olive oil. Since the sauce is packed with flavor, I lightly season the veggies with some salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for a nice kick. A little lemon juice and a generous amount of grated parmesan cheese are the cherry on top of these twirly tasty noodles--don't be shy!
Here's what you need for Farmer's Market Spaghetti with Garlic Scape Pesto* (Print Recipe!)

for the pasta
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large zucchini, diced
1 bulb fennel, diced and core removed
1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese

for the pesto
1 cup basil, packed
1/3 cup garlic scapes, chopped
1/3 cup sunflower seeds (or any nut you like...pine nuts or almonds would be great)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup or more olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente according to package instructions.

While the spaghetti cooks, heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the butter. Once melted, add the zucchini, fennel and onion. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 minutes until soft and golden brown. Add the lemon juice and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Keep warm over low heat.

Prepare the pesto. Add the basil, scapes, seeds, cheese, and zest to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is finely chopped. With the processor running on low, stream in the olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pulse a few times more. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the spaghetti is done cooking, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water and a few spoonfuls of the pesto to the veggie mixture, stirring to combine. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add some parmesan cheese on top of the hot pasta and a few more spoonfuls of the pesto. Toss to combine. Finally, add the veggies mixture to the pasta along with the rest of the pesto. Toss to combine. Serve with more parmesan on top, because you're worth it!

*Gas Stove Girl original recipe

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