Main Dish/ Spring/ Summer

Garlic Scape Pasta with Creamy Parmesan Sauce

June 14, 2022
This Garlic Scape Pasta is creamy, mildly garlicky, and so delicious. If you can find garlic scapes at the farmers market, you must try garlic scape pasta!

This Garlic Scape Pasta with Creamy Parmesan Sauce is the only garlic scape recipe you will need for the springtime season! Hands down my favorite ways to use garlic scapes. It’s easy, delicious, and takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. You can use any of your favorite pasta shapes, but I used Calamarata for this recipe. The pasta is a little thicker and the shape helps hold more sauce for the perfect bite every time. If you’ve ever seen garlic scapes at your local farmers market, don’t hesitate to try them out – they’re a seasonal delicious delicacy!

How to Cook Garlic Scapes

Before we started farming, I remember seeing garlic scapes at the farmers’ market and wondering how in the heck are you supposed to use them. They kind of look like they should be eaten raw like green onions, but they have a really strong garlic flavor. That said, if you plan to use them raw, you may want to do so sparingly. On the other hand, when they’re roasted or pan-fried, they take on a delicious carmelized garlic flavor. Garlic scape recipes can be hard to come by since it’s such a niche crop, but some of my faves are garlic scape pesto, scape tempura, and parmesan scapes.


You can pan-fry them just like you would asparagus or green beans. Just add a little olive oil and garlic to a pan, cook with the scapes for 2-3 minutes depending on how soft you like them, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmesan. Minimal and delicious. Since scapes are so seasonal, it’s nice to let their flavor shine and not add a lot of overpowering ingredients.


Another fabulous way to prepare scapes–and it’s raw. I could eat garlic any kind of way, but if you’re not big on the raw garlic flavor, you can cook the pesto into a sauce for pasta or simply cook the scapes a bit and then blend them. Cooking will help break down some of the strong spiciness. You can also blend them with other herbs. For example, I sometimes make this traditional basil pesto and just sub out half of the basil for garlic scapes – great with arugula pesto as well. Scapes will compliment virtually any herb you want to use so feel free to experiment with crazy flavors!


This is my husband’s favorite. Similar to tempura green beans with a texture like sauteed asparagus. So, so good with a sriracha aioli or soy-vinegar sauce. Since the scapes are garlicky, it’s great with a plethora of vegetable tempuras like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, pumpkin, etc. Here’s a good recipe for the tempura batter.

Here are a few more ways to use scapes:

  • Grilled or stir-fried with other meats and veggies
  • Fried rice
  • Topping for pizza (especially white pizza with ricotta, mozzarella, and broccoli)
  • Roasted and used as a bread topping
  • Blended with hummus
  • Stuffing for roasted chicken
  • Chopped and tossed into a salad
  • Made into pesto with other herbs
  • Pickled or fermented
  • Blended into a sauce for oysters rockefeller
Harvesting garlic scapes.

What are Garlic Scapes?

Most people are familiar with garlic, and some green garlic, but what are scapes? Garlic scapes are the stem of the garlic flower. Here in NC, we plant garlic in November so by the time June-July rolls around, the garlic has had enough time for the bulbs to bulk up and then naturally the plant sees the time is ready to send up a flower and reproduce. Since the bulb is what we desire, we want to make sure the plant doesn’t send all that stored energy up to the flower. Oftentimes, we just dead-head, or pluck the flowers off of crops that we don’t want to “go-to-seed” but in this case, we pull the blossoms before they even open. If pulled correctly, you end up with a tender, juicy scape similar in texture to an asparagus stalk.

There is a delicate way of harvesting garlic scapes as opposed to just dead-heading. If you pull the stems as gently as possible, you can get a long scape with the tender part at the bottom. You’ll know when they’re ready when you see the little hooks coming out of the center of the garlic plant. You can let them get a little larger, but remember all the energy is coming from the bulb. That said, you’ll definitely want to harvest them before the scapes straighten out and begin to get tough and fibrous.

Garlic Scape Pasta with Parmesan Cream Sauce

Dinner, Pasta Italian, Mediterranean
By Katelyn Bailey Serves: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

A delightful springtime pasta made with fresh, seasonal garlic scapes. Be most delicious way I've found how to use garlic scapes!


  • 1/2 lb dry pasta (I used Calamarata)
  • 15-20 garlic scapes, washed and blossoms trimmed off
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Dash of chili flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for drizzling



Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.


While the water heats up, put the garlic scapes, garlic cloves, chili flakes, lemon juice, white wine, and a drizzle of olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until very smooth.


Bring a large pan up to medium heat and drizzle in a little olive oil.


Pour in the garlic scape mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring often.


Pour in the cream and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium low until thickened. Add salt and pepper to your liking.


While the sauce thickens, put the pasta into the boiling water and cook per package instructions. Strain and reserve 2 tablespoons of the pasta water.


Stir the parmesan into the sauce and let it melt for 1-2 minutes.


Toss in the pasta and reserved 2 tablespoons of pasta water until the pasta is evenly coated.


Stir everything until it comes together.


  • 1013 Calories
  • 71.9g Carbohydrates
  • 189mg Cholesterol
  • 60.9g Fat
  • .5g Fiber
  • 33.2g Protein
  • 23.8g Saturated fat
  • 772mg Sodium
  • .6g Sugar


Garnish with fried garlic, toasted breadcrumbs, crispy pancetta, and a grating of parmesan on top.

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