Meatless Monday: Garlic Scape Pesto Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella

My friend Mike and I were chatting on the afternoon of The Kid’s birthday party as our children were in a bounce house being children. One of the great things about shooting the breeze with him is how I never know where the conversation will land. As it often does, the subject of food came up and he started talking about his CSA share for the week. Mike said that he got garlic scapes in his weekly pickup and had no idea what to do with them. I have seen them before at the farmer’s market available both whole or in pureed form from Empire Buffalo. I suggested a pesto, which was my way of saying, “I have no idea.”

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Garlic scapes look a lot like chives. Long, thin, curvy and fragrant, the garlic scape is what grows from the top of a hard bulb of garlic (or so I’ve read). The primary difference between the chive and scape is the aroma: chives are like a fragrant onion, while garlic scapes smell like, wait for it, garlic. They fall into that class of bonus veggies — pea tendrils or shoots, zucchini flowers, beet greens, or the tops of a spring onion — where the flowering bud or tendril support are edible and delicious.

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So, fast forward a few weeks later when Kelly, one of The Wife’s colleagues, offered up a quart-sized bagful of garlic scapes for our use. She had a bunch of them and was offering them up to other homes from her garden. Almost as soon as they came home, they went into the food processor.

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WHAT WORKED: A basic puree. Instead of doctoring up the pesto with pine nuts or too much other stuff, I pureed them with a little bit of olive oil.

WHAT DIDN’T: I just love grabbing pans out of the oven without a potholder. It’s like a hobby.

EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy.

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BEST FOR: Changing up the red sauce pizza routine or when you have garlic scapes and don’t know what to do with them.

SERVE WITH: Beer. Good pizza begs for good beer.

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Garlic Scape Pesto Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella
  • 3 to 5 oz. garlic scapes, cleaned
  • olive oil
  • 12 to 16 oz. pizza dough (JARED'S NOTE: I get mine from a good local bakery. Do whatever works for you)
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 8 to 10 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin

Preheat your oven to its highest possible temperature and move your racks so that one is at the lowest point of the oven and the other is at the second-highest position in the oven.

Add the garlic scapes to the bowl of your food processor and drizzle about 1 to 2 tbsp. of olive oil over the top. Start the food processor and puree the greens 10 to 15 seconds. Use a spatula to scrape down the walls of the bowl, then puree again, drizzling olive oil through the spout of the food processor until the puree is creamy. Stop and scrape into a small bowl.

Spread your pizza dough out on your preferred pizza cooking surface. Build up the edges of your crust a bit to prevent topping runoff, then spread a thin layer over the pizza. Sprinkle liberally with Romano cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes on the lowest oven rack, or until the crust begins to brown and the dough is cooked at the center of the pizza. Remove the pizza from the oven and add the mozzarella to the pizza. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese begins to melt.

Turn the oven off, and turn its broiler on to the highest setting. Move the pizza to the top rack and broil 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and any standing moisture has evaporated. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes before slicing.

By Jared Paventi

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