07 July 2011

This is a very versatile dish, as most pasta dishes are.  It can be a side dish, a main dish with the addition of some chicken, or a meatless main dish with the addition of some vegetables.  Which is how we had it last night.  I had bought the dried pasta at Trader Joe's last month while in Wisconsin (we don't have Trader Joe's near us), and wanted to pair a sauce with it that wouldn't just cover up the lovely lemon pepper flavor of the pasta itself.  I had never made a pasta sauce with cream before, but I happened to have some on hand for another dish that I never ended up making.  It needed to be used up, and I had a bunch of garlic on my counter that also needed to be used up, so voila!  Here's what I came up with.

Lemon Pepper Pappardelle with Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce

2 heads garlic
Olive oil
1 lb. lemon pepper pappardelle
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.  Slice the top third off the heads of garlic.  Drizzle the tops with olive oil and wrap up in foil.  Roast until garlic is completely soft, 45 minutes to an hour.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Boil pasta according to package directions, being careful not to overcook.  

Meanwhile, squeeze garlic pulp out of the paper and into a small bowl.  Mash with a rubber scraper until smooth.  Slowly stir in the cream until well incorporated.  Pour garlic cream mixture into a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Let sauce simmer until thickened, 10-15 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

When pasta is done, drain well.  Transfer to a large bowl and pour on the garlic sauce.  Toss to fully coat all the pasta.  Grate fresh Parmesan over the top.  Serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

This was really tasty.  And pretty easy to make too.  You don't see it in the picture, but we had this with steamed broccoli tossed in as our meatless meal for the week.  Very satisfying.

If you think two heads of garlic is too much, go ahead and roast both.  Then after you mash it up, take a little bit out and set it aside.  Make the sauce as directed, then give it a taste.  If you're happy with it, toss the reserved garlic.  But if you think it could use more, stir in some of it.  Roasted garlic has a much milder flavor than fresh, so you can use a lot more of it without being knocked out by the garlic flavor.  If you have never roasted garlic before, I recommend you try it.  It gets really sweet; a completely different flavor profile than fresh.  My garlic heads were kind of small, so that's why I did two.  If your garlic is really large, one might be enough.  But I say better to have too much than not enough!  Besides, you could always save the extra for some other dish.

I loved this sauce on this particular pasta because it really let the lemon pepper flavor shine through while adding another dimension of flavor as well.  It was the perfect sauce for this pasta.  But I think it would be good on any kind of pasta.  It's not something I would eat all the time, because it is heavy cream after all, but it's nice every now and then.

This is how my garlic looked after cutting off the top third.  You should be able to see all of the cloves.  I forgot to take an after pic, but it's pretty!

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