The Egyptians worshiped it, the Greeks detested it, the Romans ate it with delight. Garlic, with its unique odor, qualities, and folklore, belongs to a league of its own among foods. Melissa Clark's family is obsessed with garlic, even tried to make garlic ice cream. Jean Feraca talks to Clark who is a food writer for the New York Times.
Recipe: Penne with Roasted Garlic, Pancetta, and Arugula
Time: 2 hours
- Melissa Clark, food writer for New York Times
- 6 large heads of green garlic, or 4 heads regular garlic
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 pound pancetta
- 2 large bunches arugula, roughly chopped (about 5 cups)
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grated parmesan cheese, for serving
- Preheat oven to 375F. Trim the hairy root and green stem from the green garlic, or trim 1/4-inch off the top from the regular garlic, making sure to expose all the cloves. Place garlic in a small, shallow baking dish, root side down, and drizzle each head with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Cover dish with foil. Roast until cloves are golden brown, about 40 minutes to 1 hour (the green garlic will cook faster than the regular garlic). If the bottom of the dish starts to burn before garlic is roasted, add a tablespoon of water. Transfer to a rack to cool. Garlic can be roasted up to one day ahead; store well wrapped in refrigerator.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the pancetta and crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté until pancetta is golden and crisp around the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Peel the outside layer of green garlic, or if using regular garlic, squeeze the cloves from their papery skins. Chop the roasted garlic and add to skillet with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add drained pasta and arugula to the skillet, place over low heat, and toss until the arugula wilts. Add just enough of the cooking water to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan (do this 1 tablespoon at a time). Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve with the parmesan.