Friday, June 25, 2010

Farro with Garlic Scape Pesto

One of the best (and worst) things about belonging to a CSA is that you end up with all sorts of random veggies that you then have to learn how to cook.  For instance, as of this afternoon we had 12 garlic scapes in the fridge, 1 kohlrabi, 1/2 lb. arugula, 1/2 lb. dandelion greens, 5 radishes, 6 turnips, 1 head romaine lettuce, and 1 head cabbage.  So tonight's dinner was inspired by a desire to get some of that produce out of the fridge.  Although, looking back, I should have picked one of the bulkier items to get out of the fridge.  Instead I picked the absolute smallest thing in there.  Oh well.  Live and learn.  We have been using the garlic scapes in small amounts in various dishes for the past two weeks.  But what do you do with 12 garlic scapes?  The only thing that came to mind was to make a pesto.  But I wasn't in the mood for pasta, so I decided to cook up some farro and toss it with the garlic scape pesto.  I figured that farro requires some seriously robust flavors.  When cooked and served plain, it reminds me of eating plain oats or barley, with a hint of brown rice thrown in.  But it can be made into a farro risotto aka a "farrotto" (like the one I tried at Perilla in New York), or it can be cooked in various vegetable soups like a pasta to give them more body and make them heartier.

This pesto is very assertive.  Garlic scapes are fairly mild when cooked, but keep some of their garlicky bite when raw.  But farro benefits from assertive flavors, so I thought it would be a natural pairing.  Alex and I both agreed that while we were trying for a vegetarian dinner (after dinner on Wednesday at 5 Napkin Burger, and Prune on Tuesday we really needed something light), this farro would be great served with chicken sausage.  Or if you wanted to buy a rotisserie chicken you could toss that in with some grilled asparagus for a wonderful meal.  We served the farro with a nice tomato-mozzarella salad and that was lovely as well.

Recipe after the jump!

Farro with Garlic Scape Pesto

12 garlic scapes, top flowery part and bottom 1-inch removed, roughly chopped
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cup whole roasted almonds
evoo (we used roughly 1/2 cup), plus 1 tbsp additional evoo for farro
1 lb. farro, cooked according to package instructions
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Combine scapes, parm-reg, almonds, and 1 tbsp evoo in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the ingredients are finely chopped.  Stream in evoo until the pesto begins to come together and becomes creamy.  If you want your pesto to be looser, add more evoo.  Season to taste with s&p.  Set aside.

Toss drained, hot farro with 1 tbsp evoo, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, and pesto.  Season to taste with s&p.  If the pesto isn't coating the noodles well and remains separate and chunky, add an additional tbsp of evoo. 

Serve farro warm.  If desired, garnish with additional parm-reg.

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