Over the winter most of our farm-produced meals have included foods stored from the previous year’s harvest or eggs or milk or roosters, but spring means green garlic and those first greens of the season. I made an easy, delicious meal of pasta with green garlic last night, after a gorgeous spring day spent playing in the gardens. The recipe below should be tailored to what you have on hand and can easily be made vegetarian. In the summer, instead of green garlic, I might add mature garlic, fresh tomato or chunks of zucchini and fresh goat cheese. Have fun!
Green garlic is simply garlic that has over-wintered from the previous year and that you use before it forms cloves or before it is harvested and cured. It is similar to a green onion or a leek, but the flavor is much better! The green garlic I used in this dish came from garlic I left in the ground from last season. It is larger that the young garlic coming up from fall-planted cloves. The young garlic shoots are at 8-10 inches whereas the older garlic is 12-18 inches high.
I pulled one entire bunch for this dish which meant I had 4 thick stalks of green garlic. If you were harvesting fall-planted garlic, then you would harvest 4 separate stalks or cloves. Clean as you would a leek or large green onion.
I used the white and green parts, but trim off the older ends if they don’t look fresh. Chop and set aside.
Pasta with Green Garlic
-half pound pasta, any kind (I happened to use linguine for this incarnation. Bionatura is my favorite.)
-one slice bacon or two slices prosciutto or lardons or salt pork (optional) or olive oil.
-around a half cup chopped green garlic, more or less to taste (this amount is mild)
-sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
-parmesan, locatelli or other hard cheese, micro-planed, about 1/2 cup or to taste
1. Boil water and get pasta cooking. Cook the pasta so that it is less than al dente. The pasta will continue to cook when you toss it with the garlic, so you want to be careful not to overcook it.
2. Saute bacon in a large skillet until done but not too crispy. Prepare green garlic. If not using bacon, then heat generous amount of olive oil (generous to me is 3-4 tablespoons) in a skillet.
3. Saute green garlic until wilted and cooked but not browned. If the garlic starts to brown then add some stock, vermouth, white wine or other liquid and remove from heat. I added cream in this particular recipe since I had about 1/4 cup cream left from another recipe, and I wanted to use it up. At this stage you could also add other vegetables: peas or asparagus would make a great spring addition. If using peas and prosciutto, I would probably add some lemon zest.
4. When pasta is cooked, drain and add to cooked garlic. Add olive oil and/or some pasta cooking liquid if the pasta seems too dry (I didn’t have to do this because I added cream to my garlic). Toss. Add cheese and toss. Taste and add more cheese if desired. I tend to add less and put the cheese on the table for individual use. Salt and pepper as necessary. I also tend to go easy on pepper and let folks season as they prefer.
5. If you have any herbs you want to add like basil or parsley, this is the time to add it. If I was using frozen basil or parsley, then I would have added it when cooking the garlic.
Voila, easy spring dinner in 20 minutes. I served with greens sauteed in a little water on the side.
Enjoy! – Jen