Garlic scapes are in season!
Garlic Scapes are the flower bud of the hard neck garlic plant. Around this time every year, farmers remove the bud along with its curvy stalk so that the energy that would have gone toward producing a flower instead gets directed downward to produce the garlic bulb that will be harvested in the fall.
Besides being beautifully curvatious, garlic scapes have a wonderfully mellow garlic flavor. I always pick some up when I see them. They are only around for a few short weeks, so you have to get them while you can.
I was passing by Julia & Isabella's booth at the Rhinebeck Farmers' Market on Sunday and noticed that the Toussaint cheese from Sprout Creek Farm look a bit different. I asked the vendor, Meri about it and she explained that the cheeses often turn out different from batch to batch. To me, that is the beauty of these small producers. So I asked for a little taste and was surprised by how dry and crumbly and remarkably similar to parmesan it was. I love the idea of having that wonderful parmesan flavor produced right here in the Hudson Valley.
- 8 oz Gemelli Pasta - or any other pasta shape that you like
- 6 Garlic Scapes - shaved into ribbons or 2 Cloves Garlic - minced
- 1 Cup Fresh Shelled Peas - shelled and rinsed
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 Sprigs Fresh Tarragon - chopped (about 2 Tbsp)
- Zest of 1/2 Lemon - about 1 Tbsp
- 1/2 Cup Ricotta
- 1 oz Toussaint or Parmesan Cheese - shaved
- Salt & Pepper
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, shave the garlic scapes into thin ribbons. I do this by laying the garlic scape on a cutting board and running a vegetable peeler along the stalk. This takes a little getting used to but I think it's worth the effort to retain the curvy shape of the garlic scapes.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Add the peas during the last 4 minutes of cooking time. Strain the pasta and peas, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Do not rinse. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shaved garlic scapes along with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook until the garlic scapes have softened and are golden on the edges, 2-3 minutes.
Add the pasta, peas and cooking liquid. Stir to combine. Stir in the tarragon and lemon zest. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add dollops of ricotta cheese and top with shavings of Toussaint.