Even a comedy of errors can have a happy ending, I guess.

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That is macarrones with acorn squash and (some) roasted garlic (adapted from Vegetarian Planet).

It certainly seemed simple enough when I put it on the week’s dinner list. Didn’t really turn out that way, though.


Roasted an acorn squash in a 375 degree oven for an hour. Easy enough.

Peeled 15 cloves of garlic. A pain in the ass, but it gave me an idea for my weekly Accidental Hedonist post, so that wasn’t so bad.

Roasted the cloves of garlic in six tablespoons of oil for the recommended “30 minutes or until lightly golden.” Well. After 30 minutes, the exposed half of the cloves were lightly golden. The half in the oil? Brown. Dark brown. And crunchy.

I put the oil and the garlic in a skillet and tasted one of the cloves. The golden part: aces. The brown part: just as bitter as I expected. So I stood and picked off all the burnt bits, off all 15 cloves of garlic, leaving me with less than half of what I started with.

I added about a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to compensate for the lack of garlic, and went to get the white wine.

No white wine.

I did have a dry(ish) rosé, so I added 1/3 a cup of that to the oil and what was left of the garlic and brought it to a boil with about a cup of the pasta cooking water. (Surprisingly, cooking the pasta went off without a hitch.)

As it boiled, I skimmed off was left of the burnt garlic as it floated to the top (you so want to cook this now, don’t you?) and then added the scooped-out flesh from the squash. Brought it to a boil again, until it looked less wet and more like a sauce.

I added the pasta to the skillet — and quickly found my large skillet wasn’t all that large. Dumped the skillet contents (and what remained in the pasta pot) into a bowl, added about 2/3rds a cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and some salt, stirred, loosened it up a little with some pasta water, and served.

As you might guess, I didn’t really have great expectations for this pasta.

It was, in fact, completely delightful. The squash was creamy. Yes, it could have used more garlic, but what was there was nutty and sweet, and the cheese added a lovely, much needed sharp bite.

So, if I can just master a char-free method of roasting garlic, this recipe will have earned a rightful place in my standard repertoire.

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8 Comments

  1. Those are really weird roasting garlic instuctions. No wonder it burned!
    I bet you could have just sauted it for a similar effect if you wanted to use olive oil.

  2. Next time roast it with the skins on. Then squeeze it out, makes that easier.

    But why was peeling it so hard? You smashed it first, right?

  3. The method I learned uses no oil at all. Not sure if it would have helped any in this situation, however.

  4. Rachel: Okay, good. I thought so, too, but not having roasted garlic before I didn’t have much information to go on.

    Charlotte: I do usually just smash them, but this recipe indicated I should be using peeled, intact cloves in the oil; I assume so they’d roast and not just frizzle up.

    Ethan: I’ve actually seen an even easier method, where you just lop the top off a whole head of garlic and roast it that way, and the cloves just slip out when it’s done.

  5. I roast garlic by rolling it around in a bit of olive oil (unpeeled, sometimes even the whole head), then I wrap it up in foil and toss it in the oven. I’ve never had a problem.

    I find that it turns out better when I use oil as opposed to leaving it out.

    Good luck.

  6. I’ll try Rebecca’s method. I like the foil pouch method because it is so passive, and allows me to focus on other prep work (as opposed to sauteeing, for example). Also less dishes to wash, in theory.

  7. Those are odd garlic roasting instructions! I agree — the best way is to cut a little off the top of the head of garlic and squeeze the garlic out when it’s finished roasting.
    Also — FYI.. if you are trying to peel a lot of garlic.. take two metal bowls around the same size. Put the unpeeled garlic in one bowl, place the other on top and shake them around. It doesn’t get off all the peels but it does get off a good quanity of them!

  8. Actually, microwving them turned out to be the easiest method of all.

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