In the two and a half years since I’ve had my blog, it’s undergone several makeovers. Actually, the first version of this blog had an entirely different name, Roasted Garlic, and its first post was appropriately, roasted garlic. To be honest, I haven’t cooked with it much since, though I’m not sure why. Roasting garlic is straightforward and the work is done in the oven. The flavor is bold but mellowed by the other components of the dish, and tossing it together is almost effortless.
I've actually been searching for this recipe for two years. About that long ago, we went on a cruise, and on the evenings we weren't dressing up for the specialty restaurants, we sauntered over to the buffet for a more casual meal. Every night, they served pasta, and it was always the same: spaghetti with chopped parsley and red pepper flakes. Simple really, but at the time I didn't recognize what might have been the key ingredient: garlic.
I attempted the recipe soon after we got back, but it wasn't the same. The parsley and olive oil were right, but there was a depth of flavor missing. I didn't think about it again until recently, when I glanced at a Martha Stewart recipe for pasta with garlic three ways. Three ways seemed excessive to me, and I was certain there was enough flavor to be had with garlic two ways, roasted and sautéed, so I made the modifications accordingly and it finally tasted like the late-night pasta I loved on our vacation.
TWO GARLIC PASTA
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Don't skimp on herbs in this dish. Parsley is an important flavor component, and it's freshness helps balance the strength of the garlic. Serves 4
2 heads garlic, halved lengthwise, plus 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound spaghetti
Extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, for grating
When the oven is preheated to 425 degrees, slice the garlic heads lengthwise and place each half cut side up on a large piece of foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, then wrap. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the cloves and transfer them to a small bowl. Mash the garlic with a fork until a thick paste is formed.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. While the pasta cooks, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the red-pepper flakes and minced garlic. Cook for one minute until fragrant. Add the roasted garlic, then the white wine. Cook until the wine has reduced slightly and thickened to create a luscious sauce.
When the pasta has cooked, add it directly into the pan with the sauce. Add the parsley and lemon juice and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve topped with Parmesan cheese.