Pasta with Garlic Stems and Basil

Preparation info

  • Serves


    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).


    • 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


      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.