Pasta with Cream and Salsify


Difficulty Level Easy

I was searching for ramps at my farmers' market last week, but apparently I was a bit early for it. What I found instead was salsify. It is apparently, the root of the perennial plant Goatsbeard, which I happen to have growing in my garden. It is the colour of dirt and it has lots of silky little roots growing from it. In other words, totally unappetizing-looking. I had to try it.

I did a lot of searching through my cookbooks for recipes for this homely vegetable and I found a number of mentions of it, but no recipes. When I checked the Internet, I discovered that you can cook it pretty much any way you would cook a potato. I had some organic cream in my refrigerator left over from my Jerusalem artichoke soup recipe, so I had to find a way to incorporate the two ingredients to make dinner. When I have no idea what to make, my fall back plan is always to make up a pasta dish, so that's what I did.

You have to peel salsify to reveal the white flesh beneath the nasty looking exterior. I chopped the roots into bite-size pieces, and boiled it for a few minutes before adding it to the pasta sauce I had made. I think I should have sautéed it along with the garlic and onion instead of boiling it. I had read in a number of places that salsify is also commonly known as "Oyster plant", because of it's taste. I actually couldn't discern much of any kind of taste. I had expected some earthy kind of flavour, but it was very bland. If I tried this vegetable again, I think I would roast it with some olive oil and garlic for 20 minutes in a 350F oven. Unlike the celeriac and Jerusalem artichokes that I tried for this series, I don't think salsify is going to become a regular purchase for me.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 bulbs of garlic, or two cloves of garlic
2 green onions
1 cup cream
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked pasta for 2


  1. Peel and chop salsify. Heat water in a small saucepan and cook salsify for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve. If you prefer, skip this step and add it directly to the pan with the garlic and onion.
  2. Heat oil and butter in frying pan and sauté the garlic and onion until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cream and cheese and allow to cook for a few minutes to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta.
This recipe appears in: Vegetable Side Dish
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