Pasta with Garlic Stems and Basil

Preparation info

  • Serves

    2

    as a main course

    Appears in

    Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

    By Elizabeth Schneider

    Published 2001

    • About

    This juicy green allium, which has little of garlic’s aggressive aspect (as is evident from the equal weight of penne and garlic stems!), plays vegetable and seasoning in a fresh pasta toss. Choose pasta that mimics the pretty, slim slices, such as narrow quills (penne), or another form of the same length, such as gemelli. For a variation, omit the lemon and toss the hot pasta with halved small cherry tomatoes (at room temperature, not chilled).

    Ingredients

    • ½ pound Chinese garlic stems
    • ½ pound imported Italian pasta (preferably penne)
    • About 3 tablespoons full-flavored olive oil
    • ¼ to ½ cup thin-sliced basil leaves (or parsley and basil)
    • Lemon wedges
    • Salt and pepper

      Method

      1. Bend bottom portion of each garlic stem (like asparagus) to snap off where it breaks naturally (tender ones may not need trimming). Drop trimmed stalks into a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil until not quite tender, a minute or two. Lift out with tongs (save water for pasta). Drain and blot on towel. Cut into long diagonal slices ¼ to ½ inch wide.
      2. Drop pasta into the boiling water. Cook until just tender.
      3. While pasta boils, heat wide skillet over moderate heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and tip to coat pan. Add garlic stems and toss to brown lightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
      4. Drain pasta. Toss in heated serving bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic stems, half the basil, a big squeeze of lemon, and salt and pepper. Toss. Taste and add more oil, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper as needed to achieve a bright flavor balance.