Friday, July 3, 2009

All scapes, all the time

While I am aware that this blog is not titled, "A Stove With Some Garlic Scapes Around It," I nevertheless cannot stop cooking with the little suckers. They are tasty, and abundant, and versatile. And each Saturday morning the kind folks at the Thaxton family's farmers' market stand give me another idea for how to cook with them. So at least for now -- before the garlic itself is ready to harvest -- I am all scapes, all the time.

Well, today I am actually all scapes and all broccoli all the time. There was some delicious-looking broccoli at the farmers' market last weekend, too, and it would have been wrong for me not to pick up some. Especially since it was being sold by a little Amish boy who was as cute as cute can be. The broccoli looked so good -- lots of long, tender stem and big, loose florets. Lately we've been feeding a lot of broccoli to the dog, because I read it's a good way to stave off cancer in pups. Sadly, I hadn't been feeding it to myself very much, at least not until I bought this bunch from the adorable little Amish lad.

The Thaxtons had a dish of lightly sauteed garlic scapes simply dressed with olive oil and sea salt at their stand as an example of one way to cook with scapes. With my large bunch of broccoli in hand, I tasted the scape. Yum. Putting two and two together I determined that sauteed garlic scapes and roasted broccoli would be just the thing to accompany thin spaghetti. The long scape would mimic the long strands of pasta, mildly flavoring the dish, and the slight crunch of the roasted broccoli florets would bring a mellow flavor and wonderful texture to the gathering. Add a dash of red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon and what you have, dear friends, is a fabulous way to eat your healthy vegetables and use up your fresh farmers' market stash.

Just in time to make room for next week's haul of scapes.



2 c. broccoli florets and stems, cut into bite-size pieces
4 T. olive oil, divided, plus a little more to drizzle over the finished dish
1/2 t. sea salt, divided
1/2 t. freshly-cracked black pepper, divided
1 lb. spaghetti
5 garlic scapes, cut into 3-inch pieces
2 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
Grated Pecorino cheese, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the broccoli, 2 T. of the olive oil, 1/4 t. of the sea salt and 1/4 t. of the black pepper into a casserole dish and toss to combine. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the broccoli is slightly browned and crispy on the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package directions until it's just al dente. While the pasta is cooking, place the remaining 2 T. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic scapes, the remaining 1/4 t. sea salt and remaining 1/4 t. black pepper. Cook the scapes until they begin to brown and soften, about 5 minutes.

Drain the cooked pasta, reserving some of the pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the skillet with the garlic scapes and stir to combine. Add the roasted broccoli and about 1/2 c. of the pasta cooking water; stir everything together and cook, over medium heat, for 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of Pecorino cheese. Goes well with a beer poured into a stubby little glass, just like the old Italians do.

Serves 4. This pasta tastes even better the next day, and therefore makes a most excellent lunch. Your coworkers will be all, "What is in your pasta?" And you will be all, "Garlic scapes." And they will be all, "What?"

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