While I’ve been getting ready for season two of the square foot garden, I was able to harvest one last crop from last year that I managed to reap after a long, cold Winter.
During last fall, I decided to try growing green garlic, the quintessential gastronomic sign of early spring.
I broke up a head of garlic into cloves and planted them in one of the squares in the garden. Short green stalks shot up quickly, and then they stopped growing and remained like that for the winter. But, as it started warming up last month, they began growing again. Some of the outer leaves, which had withered and started turning brown, were now joined by new ones that were growing fast.
When I yanked them out of the ground, the long stalks were still attached to the original cloves, which had burst open and could now be peeled off.
What remained looked a lot like scallions, tinged with purple at the white end and perfumed with the smell of garlic. I tasted a bite. While the smell could trick you into thinking you were putting a piece of raw garlic in your mouth, the taste was much, much milder.
I combined the green garlic with butter to make a very simple pasta. Once cooked, the green garlic (surprisingly) tasted nothing like scallions or onions, as I had expected. Rather, they became slightly sweet, like the offspring of garlic and leeks if they mated. I leave it to your imagination to envision what that mating process would look like.
Fresh Pasta With Green Garlic
1 pound fresh pasta
2 tablespoons butter
4-5 stalks green garlic, finely sliced
salt (to taste)
black pepper, freshly ground (to taste)
Parmigiano reggiano, grated (to taste)
1. Boil water for the pasta.
2. Melt butter in a sauté pan, being careful not to let it brown, and add the green garlic.
3. Saute on medium to medium-low heat until the green garlic has softened (but don’t let it brown). Remove from heat.
4. Cook the pasta. I used cavatelli, which were frozen and required a longer amount of cooking, so I started them before sauteing the green garlic.
5. When the pasta is cooked, drain it (reserve cooking liquid), and set pasta aside.
6. Return the saute pan to the range, set to medium to medium-high. When the butter starts to bubble, add about 1/4 cup of the water the pasta cooked in and whisk until the butter and water forms an emulsion. Keep whisking while the butter/water reduces slightly (around a minute).
7. Add pasta to the pan and toss, adding more water if too dry, and seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Plate and serve the pasta with grated parmigiano reggiano on top.