Garlic Scapes Recipes: Garlic Scape Carbonara

| June 29, 2009 | 44 Comments

Garlic Scapes Recipes | Garlic Scapes Carbonara

Last year, while trolling a local farmers market, I discovered some curly green shoots that were unlike anything I had ever seen. Vibrantly green and mostly firm, save a slight grassy portion at the top, I took a few garlic scapes home and cooked with them … and promptly fell in love.

What were they strange, unfamiliar things? Garlic scapes. But since garlic scapes have a sadly short season (they are, after all, the flowerings shoots that come off of young, immature garlic and are cut off on purpose), I didn’t get a chance to have them again last year.

So, I waited. And waited. And waited. And when the farmers market that I used to go to didn’t open earlier this month (it seems that a lack of popularity has shuttered the hit or miss event), I though I had missed another round of my delicious garlic scapes discovery all together.

But I didn’t.

Last week, when Will and I hit the farmers market in the pouring rain, the first thing I spotted as we snuck in between two booths was … bunches of garlic scapes. Of course, I immediately purchased some, with visions of this garlic scapes recipe already dancing in my head. Last summer, I was playing around and crafted a Garlic Scape Carbonara pasta. It was delectably creamy with lots of garlic taste (but without the bite of matured garlic).

I’ve literally been waiting for a year to share this. It’s divine, delicious and delovely. I suggest you try it too.


Garlic Scapes Carbonara

Garlic Scape Carbonara

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: serves 4

This pasta is fantastic as a meal served with a big garden salad and some crusty bread. If desired, add a half-cup of fresh, lightly cooked peas to the mix for a little added nutrition (and sweetness).

Ingredients

1/2 lb campanella pasta, or shape of your choosing
4 slices bacon (about 3 1/4 ounces), chopped
1/4 cup garlic scapes, cut into 1/4 inch coins
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

Directions

  1. Set a pot of water to boiling on the stove and cook the campanella pasta (or desired shape).
  2. While it's cooking, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and add the garlic scapes. Cook until soft (2-3 minutes). Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. (Drain both the bacon and the garlic scapes on a paper towel).
  3. Whisk together the eggs, salt and red pepper flakes.
  4. When the pasta is done, quickly remove it from the stove and set a different burner to low heat. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot, on the burner set to low. Stir in the garlic scapes and bacon. Add the egg mixture and stir feverishly for 3-4 minutes until sauce is thick and creamy. Don't let it overcook or it will be gloppy. Sprinkle the Romano cheese in, a little at a time, and stir to combine. Don't add it all at once or it won't mix throughout the pasta as well (since it will clump).
  5. Serve immediately.
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Category: pasta, Recipes

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a writer, editor and recipe developer who loves to create delicious recipes the whole family can enjoy together. Her work has appeared in countless publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Maine with her two food-loving kids.

Comments (44)

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  1. Kristen says:

    Oh wow – that sounds sooooo good! Great pics too!

  2. patsyk says:

    I haven’t been lucky enough to find garlic scapes, but hope to next year when they are in season! Your recipe looks so perfect for a summer dinner!

  3. I had been wondering what these curly things were! Man, am I glad you posted this – I tried them last week and they were delicious! I tried pesto – and if you haven’t tried it yet, def do – much stronger flavor, reminded me of ramps. Then I did a bacon pasta dish inspired by your recipe and MAN possibly one of the best pasta dishes I’ve made!

  4. mark krosse says:

    maybe try garlic chives as a substitute, if garlic scapes are out-of-season. garlic chives are available mail-order and are in season until first frost.

  5. Jane Steinberg says:

    Why couldn’t one sprout a couple of heads of garlic
    to get scapes?

  6. Carol Hargis says:

    I have been growing garlic in my ‘Victory Garden’ for 15 years. I don’t harvest all of it for cooking, but every 2 years I gently pull the heads (they are small) separate & replant a little further apart. I keep it at both ends of the bed so I can dig or double-dig without disturbing it. Thus I have my own scapes every spring here in the Hudson Valley. The greens are up 10″ today, so the scapes will be soon to come. They keep very well in the veggie drawer, also. Congrats on the Saveur Best of the Web, Sarah!

  7. David Stickney says:

    One of the advantages of growing your own garlic (I think that is the easy part) is you can go out to your garden and get your own scrapes when you need them. This was a wonderful dinner (and a leftover lunch). A real keeper.

  8. Ellen says:

    I tried the above recipe for Garlic Scape Carbonara last night. OMG, it was sooooo good, although I was a bit heavy-handed on the pepper flakes. I will definitely try the recipe again (like maybe next week) but will reduce the amount of pepper flakes. I don’t like things too spicy. Thanks you sharing that recipe.

  9. shaun says:

    I just got some scapes from my farmer. How do you prepare them, exactly? Do you chop ‘em up? Do you eat the whole thing? Your recipe just tells me to cook them… but how?
    THANKS!
    Shaun

    • Sarah Caron says:

      Hi Shaun, the whole scape can be used — just cut them into 1/4 inch coins, as stated in the ingredients, and saute as directed. Good luck! I’m hoping to get some this weekend.

  10. Erin says:

    Hi! I’m a late arrival to your post but wanted to share my delight! I joined a CSA this year and have been scratching my head for ideas to use the garlic scapes. Your recipe was the perfect answer. Quick and delicious. I also added cherry tomatoes. Yum! Thank you for sharing :-)

  11. Psipsina says:

    I would like to suggest that carbonara is a sauce for long pasta. The eggs tend to get gunked up into all the ridges and curls on your typical sort pasta, like campanile.

    Otherwise, great recipe!

  12. Psipsina says:

    Er, I meant “short” pasta.

  13. Sarah Caron says:

    Psipsina, you can use any shape/type of pasta you prefer. I really like the way the sauce works with this type of pasta, since it really gets (as you said) into the ridges and curls — it’s a preference. With a long pasta, like linguine or angel hair, the sauce wouldn’t be so integrated into the pasta.

  14. Psipsina says:

    I encourage you to try this with long pasta, because I don’t think pasta shape in any recipe is mere preference. Some treatments lend themselves better to different shapes, and I think you’ll simply get better results with long pasta.

    In Italy, carbonara is nearly always served on spaghetti, and there’s a very good reason. To get a creamy sauce, you need to keep the eggs from curdling in scrambled-eggy lumps, and the way to prevent this is to keep the eggs in constant, fast motion. The slipperiness of the long pasta assists with this, whereas a short pasta shape with ridges, holes, ruffles, or doodads where the egg can get caught mean that the egg stays still, and scrambles.

    Of course, if you use long pasta, you need to chop the bacon and scapes much finer, and when I chopped the scapes finer, I found I needed twice as many to make their presences known. But who could complain about extra scapes?

    • Sarah Caron says:

      Again, thank you for your comments — And very interesting on the cast iron! I don’t typically use my cast iron for pasta, but that is certainly good to know.

  15. Psipsina says:

    Oh, one other thing – if you use a very heavy pot, like enameled cast iron, to cook the pasta, you don’t need to put it back on the heat. This type of pot holds heat very well, and adding more heat might cause the eggs to scramble.

  16. kim says:

    Love love that you cooked them in bacon, i just discovered these this year and i am going crazy, literally, trying NOT to ewat them all raw. Thank you for a beautiful post!

  17. Leslie Witherspoon says:

    Made this for dinner tonight fully expecting a fight from the kids. To my amazement, they all dug in without comment and only looked up to ask for seconds. I will be growing garlic scapes throughout the year if I can manage it. Too tasty!

  18. John says:

    A HIT! Made some adjustments based on what I had. Used asagio and cheap parma blend. Used 50% more scapes but could have tripled them. Added scapes to bacon when it had 4 minutes to cook and then added two handfuls of snap peas a minute later. My teenage daughter who never eats leftovers ate her brothers portion from the fridge during the night.

  19. Karen B. says:

    I planted garlic for the first time last fall, and was looking online for some harvesting tips. Until this morning had never heard of garlic scapes, but what a find! I made this recipe for tonight’s dinner and it received my husband’s enthusiastic approval. There aren’t a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but each one carried its weight. The only change I made was to use a good Parmesan instead of the Romano, because that’s what I had on hand. The Romano would have been a little more robust, and delicious, I’m sure.

  20. Lizzygally says:

    This recipe is just perfect, thank you for sharing! I doctored it up with some fresh shucked corn which I sautéed in the pan after the scapes. I’ve always wanted to cook with scapes and thanks to you I have a reason to cook with them again! Thanks :)

  21. Oh my gosh, yum. I made this with guanciale and it was stellar! I used peas, but I love the commenter’s idea of using corn!

  22. Kirsten says:

    Sarah,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe with me for my Garlic Scape Recipe Round Up! It’s now live, and I’m so inspired I cannot wait for my scapes to appear.

    Thanks!

  23. Farrah says:

    Any ideas for an egg substitute in this recipe? My son is severely allergic to eggs and I would love to make just one dish that we can all eat. This recipe looks amazing!

    • Hi Farrah, thanks for the comment! That’s a hard one, since eggs are an important part of carbonara. You could try skipping the egg and using heavy cream (not too much) instead — but you will likely need additional seasoning since the yolk adds flavor to the dish as well as creaminess.

  24. Cindy says:

    Every year at around this time, I go online and look for ideas to cook garlic scapes. I find it cute and funny that all the comments on this recipe are dated June 2009, 2010, 2013, etc.
    I made the garlic scape carbonara recipe yesterday for dinner. I’ve never had success with making carbonara because I always end up scrambling the egss. This one however, turned out perfectly and beautifully. Very good instructions. Love this recipe. Love, love, love.

  25. epb says:

    This was MAGNIFICENT! I have a ton of scapes from our garden so doubled the amount to great effect. I used rice linguine (gluten intolerant) and they didn’t hold their shape so added butter along with scapes & bacon to help it all blend together. So the look wasn’t perfect, but the flavor was fabulous. I will use this again during scape season! Thanks.

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