Spaghetti with Roasted Garlic and Oil is a classic Italian recipe that is quick, easy, and so satisfying. Roasting the garlic reduces its bite, so you can add as much as you like!
When my kids were little they would get hungry at the most inconvenient times, like when we hadn’t been to the grocery store in over a week and the most exciting thing in the fridge was a rejected Lunchable fished out of somebody’s backpack. My fallback plan in those days was pasta with butter. Second only to Saltines and peanut butter, that was the absolute scrape the bottom of the barrel meal. This is the grown up version. I’ve added some flourishes like pine nuts and parsley, but the garlic, oil and pasta will stand on its own.
Garlic is a wonderful flavor but I’m increasingly finding it overpowering. When it’s raw or undercooked it can upset some people’s stomach, and it always results in garlic breath. I hate garlic breath. So I’m going to roast the garlic for this dish, which mellows it and brings out the sweetness. You won’t get garlic breath, promise.
Peel the outer loose skin off of a whole bulb of garlic and slice off the bottom end, about 1/4 inch, to reveal the tops of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Wrap the garlic loosely in foil or parchment paper and roast in a 375 degree oven for about 30 to 40 minutes until the garlic is soft and light brown. Once it’s cooled a bit you can squeeze out the garlic from each clove. It will now be nutty brown and have a paste-like consistency.
The secret to this simple pasta, besides the roasted garlic, is the generous amount of parsley, which adds freshness, lots of pine nuts, which add substance and texture as well as taste, the splash of lemon which brightens it all up, and the Asiago which is tangy and not as sharp as Parmesan. It’s incredibly satisfying for such a simple meal.
- 1 bulb of garlic, roasted
- 3/4 lb thin spaghetti (my favorite is Barilla Plus)
- 1/3 cup good olive oil plus 2 Tbsp
- a pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- a heaping 1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely minced and measured after chopping
- salt and fresh cracked pepper
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- grated Asiago cheese
- Cook the pasta until just al dente.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan and toast the pine nuts until golden brown. Watch them carefully so they don't burn. Remove them and set aside.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic out of each clove, and roughly chop.
- Add 1/3 cup olive oil back in the same pan, along with the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and garlic. Heat the oil to a sizzle, mashing the garlic with the back of a wooden spoon. Heat for a minute or two, but don't get it so hot that the garlic starts to toast or burn.
- When the pasta is done, remove it with tongs directly into the hot oil and garlic. Toss well.
- Add in the parsley, salt, and pepper. Toss well again.
- Serve with a generous amount of Asiago.