Roasted Garlic Pasta

I love garlic. Garlic is delicious about any way that you can serve it. Raw, sautéed, roasted, smoked, I’ll take it. So, when I was listening to the America’s Test Kitchen podcast and he had a recipe that calls for 50 cloves of garlic? I’m in! The reason that the garlic tastes nutty and sweet is because you never break the skin on the garlic (buy it pre-peeled!). Garlic only tastes spicy and pungent when exposed to oxygen, but if you cook it whole, it will come out sweety and nutty. 

The only modifications I really made to this recipe were adding the sautéed grape tomatoes, and I did half arugula and half spinach to toss with in the end. The toasted walnuts might sound a bit odd, but they are delicious on top. When you combine the raw arugula with the hot pasta, it wilts just perfectly. I thought that the grape tomatoes added just the right amount of acidity and brightness as well–if you don’t have tomatoes I would add some lemon juice on top, otherwise it might be too rich. Remember to save some of the pasta water to loosen up the sauce at the end. 

Jose does not quite share my affection for garlic, but even he really enjoyed this one. Enjoy! 

We throw garlic into almost every pasta dish here at the test kitchen, but for a dish based on the potent stuff, we decided to roast the garlic to mellow sweetness. Instead of waiting the hour-plus it can take to roast garlic in the oven, we brown 50 whole cloves in oil and then poach them in… read more


It takes about four heads of garlic to yield 50 cloves, but you can use prepeeled.


  • 50garlic cloves, peeled (1 cup)
  • 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1cup chicken broth
  • 2teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1pound spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine
  • 8ounces (8 cups) baby arugula
  • 1cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Grated pecorino romano cheese


  1. 1. Combine garlic and oil in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is browned all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Add broth, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until garlic is fork-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour garlic mixture into food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute.

    2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add garlic sauce, arugula, and walnuts to pasta and toss to combine. Adjust consistency with reserved cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, drizzling individual servings with extra oil and passing Pecorino separately.


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