Heirloom Pasta with Green Garlic Pesto
Green garlic is simply young garlic, which is harvested before the cloves have begun to mature. Garlic is typically harvested in the summer, when the bulb of the garlic has differentiated into cloves, and is cured for storage. Green garlic is harvested in spring and early summer, when the bulb is still immature, and resembles a green onion or scallion. Green garlic has a milder flavor than dried garlic, and sweetens when cooked. It is entirely edible, and can be eaten raw or cooked. When choosing green garlic, look for fresh green tops without dried ends or soggy leaves.
If you haven't used green garlic before, and are unsure of how to prepare it, follow this simple tutorial:
- Green Garlic Basics - Video - NYTimes.com
Green garlic is juicy, sweet and sublime. Melissa Clark demonstrates the basics of using it.
- 8 ounces angel hair pasta, Barilla® ProteinPlus™, 100% Whole Grain, or some farmer's markets have made-from-scratch pasta
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 5-6 shoots green garlic, cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus additional for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons fresh heirloom basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken breast (skin removed), cut into 1 inch cubes (optional)
- 6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, quartered, reserving 1 teaspoon of the marinade (or prepare your own if you have time and ability)
- 2 medium fresh heirloom tomatoes, diced
- Boil pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry sauté pan over low heat, stirring frequently until golden (do not let them burn). Remove from heat and let cool.
- Place pine nuts, green garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and basil into a food processor or blender and process until fairly smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides. Slowly begin to add the olive oil a small amount at a time and continue processing until reaching the desired consistency (think smooth and creamy, not oily).
- Using a large sauté pan with raised edges, heat the rotisserie chicken (if using), artichoke hearts, and 1 teaspoon of the reserved artichoke marinade over medium heat, stirring until hot (about 5 minutes). Add the green garlic pesto and diced tomatoes, stirring to heat. Add the pasta and stir to combine, coating the pasta evenly with the pesto.
- Separate into serving dishes and grate additional parmesan cheese over the top to garnish.
This recipe can be served hot or cold.