This is a wonderful pasta dish I created after discovering aillet from a local farmer’s market. Apparently very popular in the South of France and only in season this time of year, in English I’ve ever only seen it referred to as either aillet or green garlic. Described as a young garlic plant (which it is in fact), but looking more like a cross between a leek and a scallion, I couldn’t help myself but to order a bit. It’s really fantastic, slightly garlicky,–but not too much–so you could actually eat it raw without having horrendous breath. Combined with the sweetness of the onions, it pairs wonderfully with the sharpness of the mustard greens and broccoli raabe in this recipe.
And did I mention the health benefits? Aillet is a good source of everything that regular garlic is–calcium, phosphorous, vitamins C and B6 and manganese, to name a few–and helpful in fighting infection, warding off colds, and potentially heart disease. Mustard greens are also incredibly healthy, with cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammation benefits as well as tons of antioxidants like vitamins C, E, A , and manganese. Last, but certainly not least, rapini is also extremely nutrient dense with a good source of potassium, iron, calcium, lutein, dietary fiber and as well as vitamins A, C and K.
- pasta (spaghetti or linguini work well)
- 2 medium-sized onions, julienned
- 3 aillet (about a gram), sliced into little rings
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 200 g of rapini (broccoli rabe)
- 2 bunches of mustard greens, de-stalked and chopped or broken into smaller pieces
- 1 tablespoon of Vegeta (a Croatian spice found at many Central and Eastern food stores as well as some supermarkets)
- olive oil
- 5 tablespoons of butter
- salt + pepper
In a medium-sized pot, bring water to a boil. Add the rapini and cook for about a minute or two and then remove to a bowl and set aside. Add more water if necessary and bring back to a boil.
Meanwhile, caramelize the onions in a separate pan. Once almost done, add the garlic and aillet for an additional minute or two. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the water begins to boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions (about 11 minutes for spaghetti.) About half way through the cooking time add the Vegeta and two minutes later, add the mustard greens. Cook until the pasta is done, then drain.
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, including the butter as well as salt and pepper, to taste.