Sunday, November 08, 2009

HHDD#29 Roasted Garlic Round-up

For this month's HHDD#29, it was all about the roasted garlic. When I’d been asked to host this month’s HHDD event I high-tailed to my still emerging donna hay magazine collection, plus a couple of her cookery books.  I wanted something I would like to eat, a recipe that was simple and crucially others would be inspired to cook and tuck into also.  And in the spirit of this event I was keen to find a recipe that I would follow slavishly and not just use as a springboard to my own creations.

 So in my case that means absolutely no tomato, no bananas nor every of the other black listed ingredients I normally swerve around. My donna hay magazines are full of little post-it note tabs, so inspiration was not a problem, it was more a matter of filtering the ‘I want to cook’ pile to manageable proportions.  To someone who hasn’t discovered Donna Hay yet it’s hard to define what is particularly unique about her style, but really that’s the word – ‘style’. Donna’s style is all the about the mouth-watering looking food enhanced with whiter than white, neutral palette accessories, photographed in a diffused light so the shadows are soft and the whiteness seems endless.  If the immaculate white bowls or un- crusty white casserole dish need adornment it’s most likely to be a crisp white folded tea towel acting as a tablemat or pot holder.  When I am channelling Donna, that’s exactly the route I try and go down and feel the urge to inhabit an entirely white place with a teetering tower of plain white crockery and a stack of crisp white tea-towels. 
So after all the consultation and pondering I settled on creamy pancetta and roasted garlic pasta.  I like pasta and this one is entirely devoid of tomato and is laced with sweet and juicy roasted garlic cloves and Donna hay’s recipe is:

roasted garlic
2 heads of garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil

  Preheat oven to 180C/fan 160C/355F. Cut off the tops of the garlic heads so the cloves are just showing. Drizzle the garlic with olive oil and wrap in aluminium foil. Place on a baking tray and cook for 45 minutes or until soft. Set aside to cool slightly before peeling off the skins*.
   Place cloves in a bowl and mash with the back of a fork.
*The garlic will be so soft and jammy that you'll be able to press the flesh out by gently squeezing the cloves between your fingers, or gently lift each clove out with a skewer.
Then taking your caramelised garlic cloves and transform into a tasty pasta dish:

creamy pancetta and roasted garlic pasta
400g dried or fresh pappardelle pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
300g piece mild pancetta, chopped
1 head roasted garlic, mashed
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
125ml pouring cream
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
finely grated parmesan, to serve

  Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted, boiling water until al dente (10-12 minutes for dried or 3-5 minutes for fresh pasta). Drain and keep warm.
  Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Remove from the heat and add garlic, chilli, cream, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the warm pasta* with the parsley and parmesan and toss to coat. Serves 4
*the heat from the pasta will thicken the sauce
- donna hay magazine issue 38  

I decided that as I hadn’t made some for a while I made some silky fresh pasta (for one) with 100g 00 Italian flour and 1 large egg.  After rolling out I cut the golden dough into fat strips with the fluted pastry wheel and left to dry over clean white tea-towels (how very Donna!) hung over the kitchen doors. 
I was happy with the recipe choice, the roasted garlic was unctuous, I am always partial to pancetta and wasn’t remotely drowned in cream, so clearly I normally use too much cream with my pasta.  As there was no specification of Parmesan quantity I finished off with another sprinkling.  Fortunately there were some other guests who also enjoyed this dish.

Zaira of La Cocina de Zaira has translated the recipe into vegetarian Spanish version and spiced hers up by using multicoloured shell pasta.  I’m not sure the garlic is roasted but is sautéed with lots of herbs and pine nuts.

Mardi of Eat, Live, Travel, Write did go the whole roasting the garlic route and used some delicious looking mushroom pasta.  It seems that someone feels the same as I do about pancetta and bacon, and home-cured as well, very impressive.

Homemades by Arfi opted for roasted smoked garlic and used a plump globe artichoke for the vehicle of the sauce instead of pasta.

Denise of Chez Us also whipped up a batch of creamy pancetta and roasted garlic pasta for her guests and I am loving the Donna-style whiteness of the bowl and background.
I had great fun planning this month’s homage to Donna and thank you to those who joined me in roasted garlic worship.