The roasted garlic is the star of this dish. Roasting your garlic makes the cloves tender and sweet while giving your dish a caramelized flavor that is delicious. The roasted garlic cloves will be extra tender and soft when you pull them from the bulb. A simple step gives a huge boost of flavor.
- 1 bulb garlic
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound pasta, like whole wheat penne
- 10-12 slices bacon, chopped
- 1½ cups chicken broth
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 8-10 basil leaves, torn or chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Take your entire bulb of garlic and chop the top off, exposing the inside.
2. Drizzle olive oil on top of the exposed cloves and sprinkle liberal amounts of salt and pepper on top. Wrap the entire bulb in foil and place it on a baking sheet in the oven to roast for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, on a second baking sheet, spread out the cherry tomatoes. Drizzle the tomatoes with oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over all of them.
4. After the garlic has been in the oven for 30 minutes, open the oven door and move the foil-wrapped garlic onto the tomato baking sheet (so you only have one baking sheet in the oven now instead of two). Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
5. While the tomatoes and garlic are roasting, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until it is al dente.
6. Meanwhile, set a skillet over medium-high heat and heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the chopped bacon and cook until browned, about 6 minutes. Unwrap the garlic from the foil, remove the roasted cloves with a fork an reserve. The cloves should be very tender and easy to smash.
7. In the pan with the bacon, add the chicken stock and lots of salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan by scraping up the little bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic pieces. Drain the pasta and add it to bacon mixture. Stir in the cheese and basil before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Mix & Match Meal Planner by Shay Shull, Harvest House Publishers