February 17, 2012

Pantry Raid - Pan-Roasted Garlic Pasta

At any time in my fridge, I have at least 4 heads of garlic.  Whenever I'm at the grocery store, I always forget how many I have and just say ehhh you never know?  One of my favorite uses for garlic is split and roasted in the oven for an hour (found here).  But when I'm craving sweet roasted garlic and pasta, I love making this 30 minute meal inspired dish.  Rachel and I were buddies in college, I would always leave food network on in the background when I didn't have a kitchen (and was dying a little inside everyday).  When I saw her episode where she made garlic pasta by steeping garlic in olive oil for the whole show and coating pasta in the flavorful oil, I knew I needed to try.  Years later, it is still my go to for when I'm feeling stressed because I always have garlic, olive oil, cheese, and pasta in my pantry and nothing makes you feel better like a bowl of pasta.

I like to change it up whenever I make it.  For this time around, I had a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil in my fridge.  I've put lemon zest, shallots, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, steamed broccoli, peas, and anything else I could think of to throw in the dish.  Low heat slowly poaches the garlic, releasing the sweet roasted flavor without the hour in the oven.  Just be sure to watch the pot, if the garlic burns the bitter flavor will predominate in the oil.

Pan-Roasted Garlic Pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup garlic, rough chopped
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp oil from sundried tomatoes
4 sundried tomatoes, rough chopped
salt and pepper

In a small sauce pan, heat the oils on medium low.  Rough chop the garlic and sundried tomatoes and add to the oil.  Before adding the red chili flake, rub them in your palms to release the oils.  Add salt and pepper.

Pan-roast on medium low for about 30-35 minutes, until the garlic gets a light brown color.  Avoid burning the garlic; watch closely starting at about 25 minutes in.

Add the oil to your favorite pasta.  I used a whole wheat fettucini and put a little sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.  It feels decadent but is so easy!

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