Every year at the spring farmer’s markets I see the baskets of the quirky, curly garlic scapes. I’ve always been curious but with such a short season of availability, the opportunity to try them is fleeting. Last weekend I finally decided to give them a whirl.
If you’ve never had them, garlic scapes taste like garlic mixed with a green onion. Raw they are a bit pungent however, when cooked any sharpness mellows out to a more delicate and balanced garlic-onion flavor. I made this risotto to let the flavor of the scapes shine and paired it with salty bacon to add a bit of richness. Just the first hint of the loveliness to come from the farmer’s markets this year!
Bacon & Grilled Scape Risotto
1 1/2 C arborio rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 C white wine
4-5 C chicken stock
6 pieces bacon
7-8 garlic scapes
1 Tbsp butter
1/3 C grated parmesan cheese
cracked black pepper
In a large sauce pan, add olive oil and arborio rice and begin to toast over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add in white wine and cook, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Add 1 C stock, continuing to stir until liquid is again absorbed. Repeat process, continually adding stock and stirring until it is absorbed. When most of the liquid is gone, test rice. It should be slightly al dente and creamy.
Place scapes in a grill pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Cook over medium heat until scapes have light grill marks. Meanwhile, cook bacon according to your favorite method. When I have multiple pans going, I like to microwave my bacon. To do so, place 2 paper towels on a plate and cover with bacon. Place one paper towel on top. Cook for about 7 minutes.
Transfer scapes and bacon to a cutting board and let sit until they’re cool enough to touch. Dice both. Reduce heat to very low. Stir in bacon and scapes. Fold in parmesan until it melts. Cut butter into four small squares and fold into risotto. Season with salt and cracked pepper.