Garlic Scapes and Pasta Primavera

Pigtail-like Garlic Scapes

Pigtail-like Garlic Scapes

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera

Yesterday I saw that my garlic had started sending up its scapes, those whimsical pigtails that eventually open as the garlic flowers.  These need to be removed if you want to achieve the maximum sized garlic head but don’t throw them on the compost pile.  They have a delicate garlic flavor perfect for stir fries and Pasta Primavera.

Curliques of Flavor, all good to eat.

Curliques of Flavor, all good to eat.

Pasta Primavera is all about seasonality (Primavera=Italian for Spring).  I still have asparagus and my edible podded peas (Sugar Snaps) are just beginning, so with the garlic scapes, I had enough  for the dish.  I like to add sweet red peppers for extra color.  You can make fresh vegetable pasta dishes all summer long.  The vegetables available seem to marry naturally and the combinations are limitless.  For example you might choose yellow squash, zucchini and green beans for July and cauliflower, peppers and cherry tomatoes for August.  I begin with a base of mushrooms and onion which I saute in olive oil while the pasta water is heating.  When the mushrooms and onions are done, I add about 1/4 tsp. of red pepper seeds.  When the pasta water comes to a boil, add the cut up fresh vegetables saving the most delicate for last and scoop them out just as they begin to soften.  Timing depends on the vegetable, the sugar snap peas take only 30 seconds, the asparagus tips about a minute and the garlic scapes, red peppers and asparagus stems maybe 2 minutes.  Green vegetables will turn bright green when they reach the right point.  When they are done, set them aside.  They will continue cooking, so if you left them in the pasta water a little too long, they might be overcooked.  In this case you should put them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente.  I like to use Capellini (Angel Hair) for this dish.

Vegetables, All Sliced and Ready

Vegetables, All Sliced and Ready

There are several options for sauces, the ingredients for which are added to the cooked mushroom/onion mixture and reduced to a sauce thickness.  Traditional is heavy cream    In midsummer when the tomatoes are burgeoning, a light fresh tomato sauce is nice but for these delicate spring vegetables I like to keep it light using chicken broth, white wine and a spoonful of the boiling pasta water.   Add the chosen sauce ingredients and reduce them while the pasta is cooking.  When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the sauce mixture, turning to coat well, then add the vegetables.  Let them cook together a minute or two so the pasta takes up some of the sauce.  Fresh herbs sprinkled over the top complete the dish.  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.  You can add meat if you wish; cubed chicken, ham or prosciutto go well (I used chopped sandwich ham this time as I had no prosciutto).  These are added when you cook the mushrooms.  This dish is quick and easy.  It can be completed in little more than the time it takes to boil the pasta water.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jacque M. said,

    Wow, sounds delish . Will try it this week.


  2. 2

    […] done several post about this terrific vegetable, being used both in it fresh form and as Pesto.  Pasta Primavera , Stir Fry with Chicken and Snow Peas  , and one about Garlic Scape Pesto itself, showing it […]


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