Roasted Garlic and Tomatoes Pasta

If you need a quick dinner idea, but do not have time to do the grocery, this recipe will come in handy. Most of us have tomatoes or garlic laying around. The goat cheese is an outlier, but most people do keep some cheese in the fridge, so feel free to substitute with a nutty cheese like Pecorino or Parmesan. The basil can also be substituted with any ‘grassy” fresh herbs you have, like parsley or dill.  The tomatoes’ usual flavor mellows out during roasting and comes out almost sweet, so it will complement almost any other contrasting flavor profile.

Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients

1 lb box penne
4 heads large garlic
4 cups grape tomatoes, cut half lengthwise
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
½ cup basil, sliced into thin ribbons
1/2 cup olive oil + extra for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Peel and discard the papery outer layers of the whole garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlic. Using a sharp knife, cut about 1/4 inch from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.

3. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each exposed head, using your fingers to rub the olive oil over all the cut, exposed garlic cloves.

4. Wrap each bulb in aluminum foil. Place the bundles individually in a muffin pan.

5. Toss the sliced tomatoes with a olive oil, salt, and pepper.

6. Place parchment paper on baking pan, and arrange the sliced tomatoes in one layer cut side up.

7. Place the muffin pan with garlic on the top rack, and the tomatoes on the bottom one. Set a timer for 20 minutes.

8. At the 20 minute mark, take out the tomatoes and let cool. Set another timer for 20 minutes.

9. In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain, and then hold under cold running water for about 10 seconds to stop the cooking process. Place in a large mixing bowl, and lightly toss with some olive oil.

10. When the garlic is done, allow it to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins.

11. Using a food processor, make a sauce with the roasted garlic and oil. Season as needed.

12. Add the garlic sauce and tomatoes to the pasta and mix thoroughly. Lightly toss in the goat cheese and basil, and season to taste. Serve warm.

Note: Feel free to add ½ cup of toasted pine nuts if you want a different texture.

how the garlic should look before closing the foil on them and roasting it
make sure not to crowd the tomatoes too much and roast them in a single layer

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