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Wow, did my house smell good this afternoon after roasting a head of garlic for 40 minutes!  The sweetness of the garlic really comes out when it’s been roasted in the oven. I loved the caramelization I got on my garlic, and it was soft like butter when it was done. I wanted to come up with a garlic sauce for my pasta tonight, so decided to roast the garlic first in the oven and then process it in my food processor, along with olive oil and grated pecorino romano cheese.

I would be lost without my Cuisinart 7 cup food processor. I  received my food processor as a gift from my mom.  I use it all the time, it’s probably my most used small kitchen appliance. If you don’t already own a food processor, you can find one on amazon at a pretty reasonable price.  Here is the link to purchase one if you are interested.

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Roasting garlic is quite easy. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut your garlic bulb in half, crosswise. Lay it on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the foil around your garlic and place in a small baking dish or on a small sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes.

The picture on the left is the garlic before roasting, the middle picture is as it’s roasting and the picture on the right is after roasting.

At the same time my garlic was roasting, I roasted my sweet Italian chicken sausages on another pan in the same 400 degree oven.  This worked perfectly, as they both cooked the same amount of time.

When my garlic was finished roasting, I put the chunks of garlic in my food processor.  To the food processor, I added 1/4 cup of pecorino romano cheese.  Pulse the cheese and garlic together. With the food processor running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube slowly and continue processing until you have a paste.

Meanwhile, I cut my asparagus spears into thirds and sauteéd it in a few tablespoons of olive oil, kosher salt and red pepper flakes. I sauteéd this for 10 minutes and set it aside.

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While my rigatoni was coming to a boil, I added the roasted garlic paste to the asparagus pan.  Once the noodles were done, I combined them with the aspragus and roasted garlic. Make sure to reserve one and a half cups of hot pasta water.  You will add this to the pan that is now holding the noodles, asparagus and roasted garlic.  Mix the water in, add another 1/4 cup of the pecorino romano and toss. Slice your chicken sausages and add to the pasta. I served the pasta with a simple garlic bread and dinner was ready.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces rigatoni
  • 1-1/2 cups reserved pasta water
  • 2 sweet Italian chicken sausages
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt for asparagus, plus some for the pasta water
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut garlic bulb in half, crosswise. Lay on a piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle olive oil over garlic and wrap in foil. Place in a small baking dish and put in the oven for 40 minutes to roast.

Place chicken sausages on a small sheet pan and roast in the same 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. After they are done and cooled a bit, cut the sausages into bite size pieces.

Sauté asparagus in 3 tablespoons olive oil with a 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Sauté for 10 minutes. If you like your asparagus a little more well done, continue to cook for another 7-10 minutes.

Cook rigatoni according to directions on box.

Once garlic is done, open the foil packet and pull the garlic heads out to place in your food processor. This is easy to do with a small knife as the garlic will be very soft. To the food processor, add 1/4 cup of grated pecorino romano. Pulse together until the garlic is pureéd. With the processor still going, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube until a paste is formed. Add this mixture to the asparagus that you’ve sauteéd.

Combine the rigatoni with the asparagus and roasted garlic, along with one and a half cups of the pasta liquid. Before mixing together, add another 1/4 cup of the cheese. Mix together and let the liquid cook down a bit. Add the chicken sausages to the pasta. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris