21 May 2014

Garlicky Parsley Pesto Pasta to Celebrate Spring Made With Green Garlic and Asparagus

Garlicky Parsley Pesto Spring Pasta
The forsythia and almond trees are in full bloom, orchards are blazing with colour and the hummingbirds have returned. A visit to the farmers market last week cemented the idea in my mind and ultimately in my kitchen. Spring is when everything seems to come alive!!!!! The days are longer and the markets begin to burst with the colours of the bountiful fruits and vegetables of the season. This is the time to enjoy fresh rhubarb, sweet garden peas and furled fiddleheads. It is the season for asparagus and escarole and a wide variety of lettuce hand plucked from the garden for green salads. The delightful fragrance of chives, mint, chervil and tarragon fill the air to season our dishes. All of these tastes of Spring are bursting from our gardens, forests, markets and window boxes.

The beauty of cooking with ingredients that are freshest in the Spring months are their pure simplicity. The standout flavours are the fresh, natural ingredients themselves... the pop of a freshly shelled pea or the bite of arugula. Top poached halibut with a citrusy vinaigrette and serve with asparagus sautéed in a bit of olive oil and topped with a dash of sea salt or sauté fresh peas with spring onions in butter and delicate chervil for a side that is surprisingly ripe with flavour.


Green garlic is garlic that is harvested before the scape (the flower bud) and bulb form. It is sometimes called domestic ramps as they are similar in taste to wild ramps (a short-season wild leek with a garlicky flavour). Green garlic is the perfect crop to get us through the time between old storage garlic and the fresh garlic harvest which is still a month away. The garlic available in stores right now is from last year’s harvest and is generally kind of soft, ready to spout, and without too much flavour. Use green garlic like you would scallions, including the green leaves which you can chop finely and sauté or caramelize as you wish.

Ramps, I have learned, are leek like oniony bulbs that make an appearance in early spring. We don’t find ramps in the Okanagan, at least I’ve never seen them. (If you know of a source, YES, I am interested). But as this recipe suggests I am certain you can use those in place of the green garlic, one of my favourite early Spring finds. Since ramps have tiny bulbs at the bottom, you may need to trim those and sauté them first, before adding the leaves, as they will take a bit longer to soften. Ramps can be less-strong in flavour than wild garlic. So if you want to use them, you could use up to 8 ounces (225g.)



I wish I could recall where I found this pasta dish. Most likely in a long lost newsletter or e-mail. I apologize to the creator for not giving you full credit. It just screamed Spring and I just had to run to the kitchen and prepare it as fast as possible before the season is over.

**Garlicky Parsley Pesto Spring Pasta**

2 packed cups flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
2 cups ramps, green garlic, or a mixture of 4 cloves garlic and the green parts of 4 scallions
½ cup walnuts
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from one lemon)
¼ cup lemon juice (from one lemon)
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
1 bunch thin asparagus
1 pound dried thin spaghetti or cappellini

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor add parsley, ramps or green garlic, and walnuts; pulse for 1 minute until small consistency.

Add lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper to the pesto mixture and pulse once again to incorporate, tasting and adding more olive oil and seasoning, as necessary. Once the pesto is to your taste, set it aside.

Once the water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the asparagus: trim and discard any woody ends. Thinly slice the asparagus lengthwise, so it mimics the pasta in shape.

A minute before the pasta is done, add the sliced asparagus to the boiling water. After a minute, drain the pasta and asparagus, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the pasta and asparagus to the pot and toss with reserved pesto. Serve topped with a few grinds of black pepper and additional grated Parmesan.


You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips

26 comments:

  1. Spring is so pretty in your part of the world Val. I don't think I've ever tasted green garlic, but it sounds fantastic. I believe wild ramps grow in the mountains where we are, but I've never tasted them either.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am sorely due for a trip to the farmer's market

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't think I've ever tasted green garlic, Val, ramps yes. Your pasta looks great! And I noticed fiddle leaf ferns in your photos....yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it reminds me I saw some fiddlehead ferns at our local Italian ship last week. I hope they still have some for my orzo risotto.

      Delete
  4. Never tried parsley pesto. I should give it a try. I confess I wouldn't normally change the basil pesto adding different ingredients but I reckon this is totally another recipe. I got to add more variety in my pasta recipes and this one sounds a good way to start experimenting with different condiments.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Delicious and what lovely pictures Val:)
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  6. Spring on a plate! This pasta dish is mouthwatering. Lovely pictures, produces and places.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  7. It figures I see this now after I just tossed part of a bunch of parsley that was going bad. I used it for as long as I could. I might have been able to find green garlic at the local farmer's market. I think we're past the ramp season in NY though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a delectably Springy dish, Val. I'm delighted by the parsley variation on the pesto. Scrumptious!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This looks delicious! I'll have to try it! If you are in the mood for a different type of pasta check out www.markbegocooks.weebly.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. You know how much I love green garlic.... Sadly, the last I bought was getting big enough to form bulbs so I think we're done for the season. It was a bit strong but still delicious. Love your pasta!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I adore green garlic as well Katie and wish it were available all year round.

      Delete
  11. So fresh and so delicious looking. Love your pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yy Norma. Always nice to hear from you. I just adore green garlic and wish it were available all year round:D

      Delete
  12. Oh Val! You're so right about Springtime getting us all excited about the freshest of fresh greens and the herbs that are right from the garden! Your pasta really hits the spot! Enjoy those farmers markets!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I harvested a bunch of parsley this morning and was thinking of making some pesto with it. It looks like we are on the same wavelength. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is a lovely dish. Simply, flavorful and elegant!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Green garlic is a staple but alas no ramps in California. GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. None here in the semi desert either Greg. I can't seem to comment on your blog again, it is a problem on my end, but I wanted to say that they are taking away any valuable lessons by not allowing that little girl to open a lemonade stand. How pathetic. Love the grown up version.

      Delete
  16. Between your lovely photos and your delicious recipe, I throughly enjoyed this post.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Delicious. I had green garlic and asparagus last week in the CSA. Guess what I made?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It makes my day to know you tried it Jerry. I can't wait to hear about your adventures in Italy:D

      Delete
  18. This is a perfect spring dish. We grow garlic to sell, so we always enjoy some of it green - amazing flavor. And we finally have enough asparagus this year to really indulge ourselves - with something like this now - thanks for a great recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yum! Pesto and garlic go great with anything and everything!
    Looks delicious Val - happy weekend to you!

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a beautiful post, and what a wonderful dish. Ramps have really come into their own this year. I ike seeing that. Now if only we could get them here in Los Angeles, it would be a perfect world!

    ReplyDelete

Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

This blog uses comment moderation therefore SPAMMERS, SELF-PROMOTERS and ADVERTISERS will be deleted.