Maybe it’s just me, but there is something sensual about the pungency of garlic.
And as long as you follow the No. 1 rule of garlic and romance — both of you eat it or neither of you eat it, never just one — you’re safe adding some serious garlic to your Valentine’s Day dinner. Best yet, it’s such a high-flavour ingredient that it’s easy to make a fast dinner with serious wow! factor. So I decided to make a totally over-the-top garlic dinner, one that is fast and flavourful and in-your-face lush. To make that happen, I decided to use garlic three ways.
I started by making a basic garlic butter by blending softened butter with a generous amount of garlic powder. I know purists poo-poo garlic powder, but I like it for things like this. It blends well in liquids and has a more mellow flavour than fresh. I then used some of that butter to briefly saute slivered fresh garlic.
Then I made my pasta. I liked fettuccine, but any variety works. I tossed the cooked pasta first with the reserved garlic butter, then with the sauteed garlic. I used a splash of chili paste for a touch of heat and to sharpen the other flavours. Then I finished with just a bit of raw garlic, of course.
The result? Intensely delicious. To make it even better I added a bit of grated Parmesan to pull it all together and topped it with some diced tomato for a fresh contrast. And be sure to serve it with garlic bread.
Quick Triple-Garlic Fettuccine
Start to finish: 20 minutes
250 g (8 oz) fettuccine pasta
50 ml (1/4 cup or 1/2 stick) butter, softened
15 ml (1 tbsp) garlic powder
4 large cloves garlic, minced
5 ml (1 tsp) chili paste (hot sauce can be substituted)
125 ml (1/2 cup) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
Bring a large saucepan of well-salted (about 15 ml/1 tbsp kosher salt) water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Reserve 50 ml (1/4 cup) of the pasta cooking water, then drain pasta, return it to the saucepan and set aside.
While pasta cooks, in a small bowl, mix together butter and garlic powder.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt half of the garlic butter. When butter is just sizzling, add half of the minced fresh garlic. Saute for 30 seconds or until it just barely begins to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add remaining garlic powder-butter blend, sauteed garlic and any butter in the skillet, and the chili paste to pasta and toss until butter is melted. Add all but 30 ml (2 tbsp) of the Parmesan and toss until melted and smooth. While tossing, add about 30 ml (2 tbsp) if the reserved pasta cooking water and toss until smooth. Divide pasta between 2 serving plates, then top each with diced tomatoes and reserved Parmesan.
Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 756 calories; 291 calories from fat (38 per cent of total calories); 33 g fat (19 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 81 mg cholesterol; 89 g carbohydrate; 29 g protein; 4 g fibre; 513 mg sodium.