Finely chopped and sweated with onions in butter or bacon fat, roasted in sizzling fat alongside crisping potatoes or left whole and stirred through a cheese sauce to add depths of flavour; it is no exaggeration to say that I use garlic every day in my cooking.
However, this week I tried something new. I wanted to marry garlic with another of my favourites, pasta. I don’t mean simply tossing cooked pasta in a garlicky, oil based sauced like this one. Rather, getting the alium’s tang into the pasta direct to provide a punchy background hit to any pasta dish.
The first step was to roast the garlic. Take three bulbs, halve horizontally and place in a baking tray. Scatter a few sprigs of fresh time, quickly drizzle some olive oil and a touch of salt and place into a oven pre-heated to Gas Mark 4.
After 25-30mins take the garlic out of the oven and bash the cloves with a pestle and mortar. You’ll achieve a fairly unappetising, pungent consistency, but trust it and leave to cool.
Secondly, make a simple pasta dough. I follow the Chiappa’s recipe of one egg per 100g of flour. I used 300g and three eggs, kneading the dough until it began to come together.
When the dough is beginning to take shape, add two teaspoons of the roast garlic. Continue to knead, ensuring the garlic is thoroughly mixed throughout the dough. Transfer the dough to your pasta machine, adding a little extra flour as the garlic makes it a tad sticky, and proceed to make pasta in the normal way. I made tagliatelle, which I then served with a sauce of smoked bacon and mushrooms.
Soft and yielding, the pasta worked well. And thanks to the garlic, any strand that escaped the sauce’s attention still had sufficient depth of flavour to provide a tasty forkfull.