No summer cookout or picnic feels complete without a little pasta salad. This one takes full advantage of a short-lived early summer ingredient – garlic scapes.
Scapes are the curly green shoots that grow from hard-beck garlic varieties. You clip them off so the plant nutrients and energy refocus on the bulb and create a robust, full head of garlic. It’s best to cut the scapes early when they are still young and tender with a tightly closed bud at the top. They are incredibly aromatic with a pungent bright garlic flavor. You can cook them, but personally, I love to showcase their robust taste by keeping them raw and making a pesto sauce.
This orzo salad comes together quickly but adds a fancy flair to a simple cook-out. I turned to the pantry for sundried tomatoes to add some color. In this instance, I prefer to use the ones that are not packed in oil as I don’t want things to become too greasy. A couple of cups of garbanzo beans add a bit of bulk to the dish, making it hearty enough to eat all on its own. Lemon juice and zest brings out the freshness of the scapes and helps link all the flavors.
This pasta salad is the perfect accompaniment for grilled meats. Or, simply enjoy it all by itself.
Orzo Salad with Garlic Scape Pesto
- 1 pound orzo pasta
- 1 cup garlic scapes, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup grated Parmesano Reggiano
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil), diced
- Cook the orzo to package specifications.
- In a food processor add the chopped scapes, walnuts, parmesan cheese, lemon juice and zest and olive oil. Puree until smooth or to your desired consistency.
- Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water just in case before draining the orzo.
- Place the drained orzo into a large bowl. Add the garbanzo beans and sundried tomatoes. Stir in the garlic scape pesto. If sauce is too thick, use some of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin as necessary.
- Serve immediately.