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Green garlic: the part that grows above the pay dirt

Green garlic
Ohhh, boys and girls. Melissa Clark at the NY Times wrote about garlic greens today. It’s gonna be a good day….

And here’s what we’ll be having for dinner tonight,* incorporating garlic greens, basil and a little bit of spinach. We’ll serve it tossed with a pound of short pasta, with red iceberg salad on the side. (I love Barilla Plus pasta for meals like this with no other major protein source, because it’s complex carbs and protein in one, and it really holds its own with strongly flavored sauces.)

* Goldman folks, feel free to let Cope know – and thanks for reading!

Basil and Green Garlic Pesto

1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1 small bunch basil (leaves and small, tender stems are all fine to use here)
10 medium spinach leaves, thick stems removed*
2 stalks garlic greens, roughly chopped (use all except the very thin top parts)
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few good grinds of pepper
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a small, dry pan over very low heat, until just starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Thoroughly wash and dry the basil, spinach and garlic greens – this is not the best time for extra moisture. Combine the pine nuts, basil, spinach, garlic greens, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 10 times, until the greens are roughly chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the motor running, pour the olive oil slowly through the feed tube. Remove the pesto to a large bowl and toss with the grated cheese.

Add a pound of hot pasta to the bowl and toss. You may want to add a tiny bit of the pasta water if the pesto needs a bit of loosening. Adjust seasoning with extra salt and pepper to taste, and serve with extra grated cheese on the side. Alternatively, use however you like to use pesto.

* Cook’s Illustrated Magazine did a test kitchen recipe last year where they added just a little bit of spinach to a regular basil pesto, and apparently it stayed green a lot longer than your average pesto. I never tried it back then, but I’ll let you know whether it works with this one, too. At any rate, you can certainly make our pesto in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for several days, until about an hour before you want to use it; or you can follow all the steps until right before you add the grated cheese and freeze it in ice cube trays for later use. It keeps virtually indefinitely in the freezer, and you can defrost just as much as you want and add cheese before serving.

Update: it stayed green all day – very impressive.


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.