Garlic scapes, the curly, flowering shoots of garlic, are available only for a short time in spring. With a garlic flavor without the bite of mature garlic, it lends a lovely flavor to this Garlic Scape Carbonara recipe.
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.
And 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 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.
- 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
Set a pot of water to boiling on the stove and cook the campanella pasta (or desired shape).
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).
Whisk together the eggs, salt and red pepper flakes.
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).
More garlic scape recipes:
- Garlic Scape Marinated Roasted Red Peppers
- Garlic Scape Risotto
- A Nut-Free Garlic Scape Pesto at Kalyn’s Kitchen
- White Bean and Garlic Scapes Dip at New York Times
- Octopus with Fingerlings and Garlic Scapes at Foodista
- Grilled Garlic Scapes at FoodieTots
- Pickled Dilly Garlic Scapes at Becky and the Beanstock
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.