The scent of green garlic reminds me of tromping through woods and farm fields this spring on a quest for morels (ultimately a middling success, but fun, nonetheless, for the hunt). Thin wild onions (or leeks, we weren't quite sure) grew everywhere, giving off their pungent aroma as we followed my brother Paul around his favorite spots near his country home north of Indianapolis.
We tried pulling up the thin shoots, but they clung stubbornly to the soil. Too much work, and besides, mushrooms were the mission.
A few weeks later, I bought the first green-garlic stalks that popped up at a local farmers market. Chopped, they gave off their mild garlicky scent, a reminder of that morel hunt. Briefly sauteed to preserve flavor and crispness, they formed the inspiration for this spring pasta dish. But now that I think of it, morels would have worked beautifully in this dish.
Look for green garlic at farmers markets and some specialty markets; sub with green onions if unavailable. Use any short pasta you like, such as penne.
Gemelli with shrimp, peas and green garlic
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
1 pound gemelli pasta
1 tablespoon each: olive oil, unsalted butter
6 green-garlic stalks, chopped (or green onions)
1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined
2 cups fresh shelled peas (or frozen)
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted boiling water until al dente; drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet until the butter melts and the foam subsides. Add the green garlic; cook, stirring, just until beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
3. Add shrimp to skillet; cook, turning once, until just cooked through, 3 minutes; remove. Stir peas, wine, reserved green garlic, salt and pepper flakes into the skillet. Cook over low heat just until peas are tender, 2 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Return shrimp to skillet.
4. Add the drained pasta to the skillet; stir to coat the pasta. Stir in some of the pasta water if mixture seems dry.
Per serving: 426 calories, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 117 mg cholesterol, 64 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein, 262 mg sodium, 6 g fiber.