The country of Italy has shut down completely at this time, and here in the United States, every hour, they are canceling more and more conferences, sports and entertainment events, and many schools are closing for the next few weeks. The coronavirus has become a global pandemic, and now everyone is in panic mode. My grandson’s university in Ohio shut down on Tuesday and sent all the students home with plans to remain there and partake in mobile classes for at least the next three weeks. I was just at our local grocery store picking up a few ingredients, and it was packed with folks filling their grocery carts with prepared food, snacks, and frozen food items. The shelves were becoming empty, and the staff on the floor were scrambling to refill the shelves. The store manager told me as I was checking out that sales yesterday were higher than they were the day before Thanksgiving, which is usually their highest sales of the year. Funny though, that the fresh produce section looked fully stocked as I imagine folks aren’t stocking up on carrots and apples!
I have asthma myself and have compromised pulmonary function, so I am one of those folks that they warn are at a higher risk of severe complications if I contracted this virus. Of course, I am following all the recommended steps to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus such as frequent hand washing, staying away from crowded venues, and not touching my face with my hands. I also stepped up my usual immune-boosting routine by increasing my vitamin C, turmeric, ginger, and zinc intake. There are also a lot of foods that contain immune-boosting properties that I try and consume during the cold and flu season, and these include citrus fruits, colored vegetables, garlic, ginger, spinach, and yogurt to name just a few.
Garlic is one of my go-to ingredients as it has incredible health properties on top of helping the immune system fight germs. Whole garlic contains allicin that is released when garlic is crushed or chewed. These compounds have been shown to boost the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when they encounter viruses, such as the viruses that cause the common cold or flu. Unfortunately, the health benefits of garlic are greatly diminished by cooking it. Although I do use raw garlic in salad dressings, its pungent flavor can be a little off-putting in other dishes. Garlic mellows out when cooked, and when roasted, it becomes sweet and has a velvety texture. One study from Penn State says that if you chop, mince, or slice your garlic and let it sit ten minutes before you use it in your cooking, it will retain more of its immune-boosting properties. So it is best to prepare your ingredients ahead of time and let the sliced and minced garlic sit for a bit before you use it.
No matter why you decide to try this dish, it is an easy dish to prepare, and the finished result is both unique and delicious. Fresh garlic is used in three different ways, and by cooking the pasta in the sauce ingredients, the starch in the pasta thickens the sauce, creating a very creamy one that perfectly coats every strand of pasta. Although you can certainly tell there is garlic in this dish, it isn’t at all overpowering, and the roasted garlic adds a nutty sweetness that is entirely addictive. I used a whole grain dried pasta for this dish, but any long pasta such as spaghetti or linguini would work. Do use dried pasta, and not fresh pasta as you need the starch to thicken the sauce.
Deborah Mele 2020
- 1 Large Head Of Garlic Plus 10 Cloves
- 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Red Chili Peppers
- 3/4 Pound Dried Pasta (See Notes Above)
- 5 Cups Low Sodium Chicken or Vegetable Broth
- 1/2 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley Leaves
- Salt & Cracked Black Pepper To Taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut off the top of the head of garlic and place it in a small oven-proof dish.
- Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, cover with aluminum foil and roast for 1 1/2 hours.
- While the garlic is roasting, thinly slice half the garlic, and finely mince the rest.
- Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and then add the sliced garlic.
- Cook, stirring continuously until the garlic is golden in color. (Be careful not to burn!)
- Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat until fragrant, just a minute or two.
- Add the chili peppers, and broth and bring to a boil.
- Add the pasta, and cook, moving the pasta with tongs until the pasta is "al dente" and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.
- If there is still too much liquid, use tongs to remove the pasta to a bowl and boil the sauce until it is reduced and thickened.
- Return the pasta to the pot and add the cheese, sliced garlic, lemon juice, and parsley.
- Squeeze the head of garlic into the pan.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss until a thick creamy sauce coats the pasta.
- Serve in individual bowls and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 451Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 1462mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 11g