Alex's Pasta Class Totally Changed the Way I Use Garlic

After watching the Food Network Kitchen marinara class, we learned that we've been approaching these cloves all wrong.

November 11, 2019

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Sometimes garlic can feel like diminishing returns. On the outside, there are robust, generous cloves, but the more you dig into the bulb, the flimsier the offerings get, until you’re meticulously whittling paper off a clove that’s barely visible to the human eye. Then the paper gets stuck to your fingers, and you lose the clove because it’s too tiny, and things just snowball from there. It’s why my kitchen counter is a little wasteland of half-used bulbs.

But garlic guru Alex Guarnaschelli solved my pungent-papered conundrum with the most brilliant and logical solution. Watching Alex make her Spicy Weeknight Marinara in an on-demand cooking class on the Food Network Kitchen app, I realized I’ve been approaching garlic all wrong.

For her five-clove recipe, Alex only uses the outermost cloves. They’re the easiest to peel, and they’re all generously and more uniformly sized, justifying the effort and cutting down on time to peel and process — after all, this is a weeknight recipe, meant to be low-effort, high-flavor cooking.

But here’s the brilliant part: Alex doesn’t throw away or forget the inner bits. She plunks the rest of the bulb into foil with olive oil and roasts it. From there, you can fancy up mashed potatoes, bolster vegetables, smear it on bread or just pop those sweetly roasted cloves into your moth like savory vampire-thwarting candy.

She even had a tip when it comes to plucking cloves off from the bulb in the first place: Alex pushes down on the bulb to loosen it and make for easier breaks than having to try and sever that outer layer of garlic paper.

Using five large cloves adds plenty of flavor and pungency, so heed Alex’s advice when she says, "It’s not a date-night recipe. This is like a third date — when you’re confident or when you’re married, you can use five cloves of garlic." And let’s be honest: Roasted-garlic-slathered bread is so much better than date-night flowers.

If you want to make Alex's Spicy Weeknight Marinara — or find other weeknight-friendly recipes from your favorite Food Network talents — you can find it on the all-new Food Network Kitchen app. You’ll be able to drop in for Alex's classes and learn more must-know tips and must-make recipes.

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