Cooking from the Garden: Pasta with Garlic Scapes and White Beans

I’d never had garlic scapes before we started growing garlic. A scape is a shoot the garlic sends up in late Spring that you can cut and eat without harming the development of the plant. It tastes like if garlic and onion had a baby (which means, obviously, delicious).

A couple things I’ve learned about cooking with scapes. First, you don’t need to cook them much at all – they lose their sharp, garlicy flavor very quickly in heat. A fast sautee in butter is really all you need. Second, their gorgeous bright green color darkens immediately after cooking unless you put them in a thin coat of lemon juice right away – so have it ready!

A warning: I cook grandma style. Which is to say, I never make the same recipe twice because I’m always chasing the “perfect” dish. So I won’t be offended if you modify – in fact, if you have any successful additions or changes let me know!

Recipe:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz orecchiette (or other thick pasta)
  • Scapes from 8 garlic plants (approx. ½ cup chopped scapes)
  • Butter (approx. 2 tbs.)
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano, shredded
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Parsley for garnish
  • Lemon juice for scapes

Instructions:

  1. Chop scapes into coins (see photo above), discarding pointy, inedible tops
  2. Boil water
  3. While water is heating, lightly sautee scapes in 1 tbs. butter. Once slightly softened, take off heat and lightly coat in lemon juice. Set aside
  4. Melt 1 tbs. butter, and sautee onions until translucent
  5. Add white beans, red pepper flakes and salt to onions
  6. Cook pasta
  7. While pasta is cooking, stir half of shredded parmigiano reggiano into white bean mixture
  8. Once pasta is cooked, drain, reserving about ¼ cup cooking liquid
  9. Combine pasta, cooking liquid, white bean sauce and scapes and toss together
  10. Plate pasta in bowls, sprinkle reserved parmigiano reggiano and chopped parsley on top
  11. Salt to taste (I like to add a lot of salt to this, but I have a salt tooth)
  12. EAT
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