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How to Make Garlic Scape Carbonara

Garlic scapes are available only for a short time in spring. Used in this Garlic Scape Carbonara recipe, the result is a creamy, flavorful pasta.

Yellow pasta with bits of green and red are shown in a turquoise bowl with a silver folk on a light wood table.

Creamy, rich, delightful … this Garlic Scape Carbonara is the pasta recipe you want to make in June when garlic scapes are abundant.

Garlic scapes, the curly, flowering shoots of garlic, are available only for a short time in spring. They have a garlic flavor without the bite of mature garlic, which lends a lovely flavor to this Garlic Scape Carbonara recipe.

Let’s chat about garlic scapes first.

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 the strange, unfamiliar things? Garlic scapes.

But 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), so I didn’t get a chance to have them again last year.

I waited — and waited and waited.

When the farmers’ market that I went to last year didn’t open earlier this month (it seems that a lack of popularity has shuttered the hit or miss event), I thought I had missed another season of my delicious garlic scapes discovery altogether.

But I didn’t.

Last week, Will and I tried a different farmers’ market in the pouring rain. The first thing I spotted as we snuck in between two booths was (yesssss!) bunches of garlic scapes bound with rubber bands.

Of course, I immediately purchased some, with visions of this garlic scapes recipe already dancing in my head. Last summer, I started working on a Garlic Scape Carbonara pasta recipe. Now, it’s time to share.

A white bowl featuring pasta with bacon, a creamy sauce and little bits of green garlic scapes.

Carbonara is a traditional Italian pasta with a rich, creamy sauce made from a fatty cured pork like guanciale, eggs, hard cheese like pecorino romano and salt. For this version, I’ve used bacon instead of guanciale, which is more accessible, and added garlic scapes for complexity. The resulting garlic scapes pasta is delectably creamy with lots of garlic taste (but without the bite of matured garlic).

It’s divine, delicious and delovely. I suggest you try this garlic scapes recipe too.

Yellow pasta with bits of green and red are shown in a turquoise bowl with a silver folk on a light wood table.

June 2024 update:

I first shared this recipe 15 years ago in 2009 and have made it dozens and dozens of times since. On my latest make, I decided to update the photos and captured the creaminess better than it ever has been before. I’m pretty excited about the update (I’ve left one of the original photos in the post too for posterity). Since 2009, this post has been viewed thousands and thousands of times. I’ve heard from many readers who love this pasta dish. What’s more is that Saveur loved this dish as well. It was featured on the Saveur website not long after it appeared here. If you love it, I hope you will come back and comment. Or, better yet, share with your friends via social media, email or old fashioned word of mouth. Thanks so much for reading. – Sarah

Yield: 4 servings

Garlic Scape Carbonara

Garlic Scape Carbonara

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).

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1/2 lb campanella pasta, or sauce-grabbing 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 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese


  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.

More garlic scape recipes:

Garlic Scapes – A Preview of What’s to Come

Tuesday 14th of June 2016

[…] Garlic Scape Pesto ❦ Pickled Garlic Scapes ❦ Garlic Scape Carbonara ❦ Spinach, Pea, and Garlic Scape Soup ❦ Bacon Wrapped Garlic […]


Wednesday 8th of June 2016

Planting a head of garlic is great but, you would want to separate each clove, and plant them individually. Plant them in the late fall, at least a month before first frost to ensure they sprout. Next spring that clove will grow into a head of garlic. This is when you get to harvest the scapes.

Sheryl Parsons

Sunday 28th of June 2020

@Rick, Is it true that it’s the hard neck varieties that put off the garlic Scapes?

2015 Summer Harvest CSA Share Week #2 | Your CSA

Monday 15th of June 2015

[…] Recipe: Creamy Garlic Scapes Salad Dressing, Garlic Scape Vinaigrette, Garlic Scape Carbonara […]

CSA Haul | Lauryn Cooks

Wednesday 4th of March 2015

[…] Garlic Scape Carbonara […]


Thursday 10th of July 2014

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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