It’s Monday and my goal today is to get life in order. Or, as close to order as I can. I know, that’s a big goal. But see, in the two weeks since I started working, Ryan and I haven’t yet adjusted to the dual-working family. To get specific with you, our laundry is mountainous, the bathroom needs cleaning, the fridge is bare, and we are jet-lagged and exhausted from a quick and wonderful trip to Raleigh, NC (which I’ll tell you more about tomorrow for Tourist Tuesday). We need to get organized and we’re both home today, so this is our moment.
And sometimes, getting it all together, starts with a good meal.I can’t function when I’m hungry, so I need something yummy to pep me up for my chores. I heard about this recipe from the America’s Test Kitchen podcast and I was intrigued. I love garlic and I love pasta. Pasta is my favorite food and my favorite “I just can’t do anything more complicated after work” dinner. But sometimes tomato sauce gets old, so a new sauce spices up the routine.
However, garlic can be a bit tricky. Sometimes too much garlic gets stuck to my very soul. It oozes from my pores, it clings to my breath, and the smell lingers on my hands. Sure, it’s near Halloween, but I’m not trying to scare off any vampires. Garlic smell keep to yourself! But this recipe is great because it doesn’t do any of those things! This recipe gives you a mellow roasted flavor that only lingers on your taste buds. That’s where it should be, and not anywhere else.
I especially like to make this meal after work because it is pretty quick. And this recipe uses ingredients already in my pantry but still feels a little bit fancy and special. I like the peppery arugula paired with crunchy walnuts and tangy balsamic. Yummy and easy – what more could I ask for? My life is already started to get sorted.
Final thought: buy your garlic already peeled. Yes it’s more expensive, but you’ll need a lot. And if you peel the garlic yourself then your hands will smell like garlic and then the promises I made above will be lies. Don’t make me a liar, buy already peeled garlic and your prep will be quicker and easier. Ok, now back to my chores! Enjoy your Monday.
Messy level: Three spoons and only because of the food processor. I love using a food processor until I have to take it apart to clean and realize that 2 minutes of blitzing leads to 4+ pieces of cleaning. Isn’t life hard? Just kidding. Don’t let the three spoon get you down, because the whole cooking process is pretty quick.
- 50 garlic cloves, peeled (1 cup)
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 8 ounces arugula
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- Grated pecorino romano cheese
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the garlic and oil. Cover and cook until the garlic is browned all over. Stir occasionally. America's Test Kitchen says 6-8 minutes, but for me it's been like 12 minutes.
- While the garlic is going, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.
- Once the garlic is browned, add the broth, balsamic vinegar, ¾ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper. Bring to the garlic mix to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for for about 5 minutes. The garlic is ready when you can easily stab it with a fork.
- While your garlic is simmering, your water should have come to a boil. Salt the water generously and add in you spaghetti. Cook until al dente (look at package but about 8-10 minutes). Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
- When the garlic mixture is finished, transfer it into a food processor. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Drain pasta and return to the pot. Pour the sauce over. Add some of the reserved pasta water if you'd like to thin out the sauce.
- Mix in the arugula and chopped walnuts. Sprinkle with cheese.