Monday, September 22, 2008

Garlic Scapes, Sugar Snap Peas and Mozzarella with Cavatappi

Summer is almost over and I haven't written about all of the goodies I found at the Green Market this season. I have tried to find one thing each visit with which I am unfamiliar, or that I haven't tried before.

The year before last, I bought this beauty. I'd never seen anything like it before. This year, they had bunches of just the top part and it turns out they're called scapes. Scapes are flowering stems that grow out of the tip or the root of a plant. With garlic, you want to cut it as soon as it starts growing because it can drain resources away from the bulb. The greens taste similar to garlic greens, and the little bulb-let tastes like garlic, without the bite. If they're picked early enough, you can eat them raw.

When I saw them at the market I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them, but I brought them home anyway. Apparently, most people grill them and eat them as is. I don't have a grill, though, and I thought they might work well with pasta and some of the sugar snap peas I also bought.
The resultant dish wasn't exactly what I had envisioned when I started out. It tasted good, but as you can see, it was watery. I forgot the first rule of making pasta: the sauce can wait for the pasta but the pasta can't wait for the sauce.

I chopped the stems of the scapes and used them like green onions. They were more tough, so I cooked them longer. I kept the small bulbs intact. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to capture any of them in the photo, but they were in there. I also used fresh tomatoes, which might have something to do with how watery the sauce turned out. I added the sugar snaps toward the end of the cooking process; they taste better the closer to they are to raw. At the end, I cut smaller balls of fresh mozzarella and tossed them in, along with fresh basil and parsley and finished it off with some freshly-squeezed lemon juice, then served it over whole wheat cavatappi. At the very end, I shaved slivers of parmasiana reggiano over the whole thing.

And that's it. Not the best pasta dish I've made, but certainly not the worst. I will most likely re-create it in the future with more success.


aunty said...

i am growing garlic in my garden and have the scapes as you mentioned i never tried to eat the, the wcapes that is with the little bulb-ette but i will now thanks

dejamo said...

I have heard they are also good roasted on the grill, Aunty.

Good luck! I'm envious of your garden. Fow now I have to forage at the farmers' markets ;)

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