Whole Wheat Pasta with Garlic Two Ways

I promised you Chocolate Pear Jam today.   Sorry, but we are taking time out again from our chocolaty overload for another great club, Cook the Books!   (That’s ok, I heart CTB!   For all my CTB posts, click here.)

This round of Cook the Books has us all traveling to Sicily with  The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri.   Rachel, The Crispy Cook, is hosting this round and picked this novel of intrigue and murder.shape of water

Rachel sets up the novel:

Our very first Cook the Books pick focused on Sicily (we read Lily Prior’s novel “La Cucina”) and I propose we return to the “scene of the crime” by reading the first book in Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano mystery series by author Andrea Camilleri. The Shape of Water is the book and in it, the scrupulously honest Inspector searches to uncover the facts behind the death of an engineer that local bigwigs, including Montalbano’s police chief, don’t want investigated. However as the rear cover blurb on my copy of the book notes, “Picking his way through a labyrinth of high-comedy corruption, delicious meals, vendetta firepower, and carefully planted false clues, Montalbano can be relied on, whatever the cost, to get to the heart of the matter.”

WARNING: Segue ahead!

We have been watching House of Cards (an original Netflix series).  There are no delicious meals, as I recall, in House of Cards (except BBQ), but the intrigue and power struggles reminded me a lot of this novel.  images (Sorry about this odd side trip, but all of the political wrangling in The Shape of Water really did remind me of what was being plotted in House of Cards, albeit in a much less scary fashion!)


So, I smiled when Paquano chastises Montalbano for questioning his autopsy report:   “You’re going to drive me crazy with questions like that.   You must be watching too many American movies, you know, where as as soon as the cop asks what time the crime took place, the coroner tells him the murderer finished his work at six-thirty-two P.M., give or take a few seconds, thirty-six days ago” (p 38).

Toward the end of the book, I again smiled when Montalbano seems to chide himself as he enters Capo Massaria with pistol drawn:  “He kicked open the bathroom door and then the others one by one, feeling ridiculously like the hero of an American TV program” (p 179).

I found Montalbano to be direct, sarcastic,  and self-deprecating—the kind of humor I love.

The food in The Shape of Water includes a delicious meal of baby octopus cooked by the Commissioner’s wife, bread rolls filled with prosciutto,  fresh fried mullet (from the San Calogero tratorria), calia e simenza (“a mixture of roasted chickpeas and salted pumpkin seeds”),  a simple dish of garlic and pasta with shrimp, and roasted peppers prepared by his housekeeper, Adelina.    There was much foodie inspiration in the novel; I even wondered who might whip up a sole dish in response to the description of Ingrid’s sports car.   🙂

I decided, like Montalbano, that a  “dish of pasta with garlic and oil could be served up without any problem” (p 94) for my inspired recipe.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Garlic Two Ways
Inspired by Emeril’s Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic

1 head of garlic, roasted
sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. sea salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, optional

Let roasted garlic cool and then squeeze out cloves.   Set aside to add to finished pasta dish.

I mentioned this tip during my SRC garlicky post: place garlic in muffin tins and cover with foil to roast. Much less mess!!!

I mentioned this tip during my SRC garlicky post: place garlic in muffin tins and cover with foil to roast. Much less mess!!!

Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil over high heat and cook pasta according to directions.

While the pasta cooks, combine the minced garlic, olive oil, sea salt, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet and warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic softens and turns golden, about 8 minutes.   Be careful to do this at low heat and do not burn the garlic.

Drain the pasta and reserve about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Place pasta in serving bowl.   Add the garlic oil and some of the reserved pasta water until a sauce is formed. Mix well. Add the parsley and roasted garlic.  Adjust seasoning, to taste. Top with shavings of the  Parmigiano-Reggiano.

I will leave you with one of the more memorable quotes (if you don’t take into consideration some of the Inspector’s more colorful language):

“As they ate, they spoke of eating, as always happens in Italy” (98).

2013-03-18 18.38.55Apparently, I have been dreaming about garlic (see my other more recent non-chocolate post here for SRC), but it is back to all things chocolate for my next post.

Seriously consider joining CTB for the next novel,  The Color of Tea:

From Sicily and The Shape of Water, we journey over to China for The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe, hosted by Deb aKahakai Kitchen.   This descriptive foodie novel is about Grace Miller, an English expat moving with her Australian husband to the tiny island of Macau in China. A stranger in a strange land, Grace, escaping the realities of the shattered dreams of her life, uses her passion for baking to open a café—serving coffee, tea and pretty-colored macarons to the women of Macau. There should be plenty of food and baking inspiration in this lovely book about boldly creating a new life and blossoming in a different place.

I just finished this novel and loved it!   In fact, this may become my favorite CTB pick to date.   (And, I can’t believe I am ahead of the game here.   I usually finish the book the day before the post is due!)

I’m back with the chocolate on Tuesday with that Chocolate Pear Jam.  (I promise.)   Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

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31 comments to Whole Wheat Pasta with Garlic Two Ways

  • OMG! I love anything with roasted garlic…wait, anything with garlic at all!

  • Mmmm ~ Hard to go wrong with garlic ~ BTW, I just finished House of Cards and I loved it … Can’t wait for the next season 🙂

  • I just love the way you roast garlic! This dish looks lovely and I have some whole wheat pasta in the pantry right now!

    • If you are a garlic lover I would do two things: Add more garlic to the oil and add MORE roasted garlic. (These are my plans for the future because I am a garlic LOVER!)

  • Oh my. I do love garlic and this looks divine. Like others, I love the use of the muffin pan for roasting. You genius, you.

    Regarding House of Cards, I saw it advertised on Netflix but never watched. Now it looks like I’m going to have to remedy that. Have you seen the new one they’re advertising? It looks more like a sci-fi thriller.

    • Nope, we always are late to the game and are totally unhip and can’t keep up. I think it is intriguing that Netflix is doing series though. I CANNOT take credit for this muffin tin idea. If you click on the link in the recipe (“roasted garlic”) it will take you to the originator.

  • We are garlic lovers too 🙂 The wholewheat pasta looks flavourful!

    • I have never met a true garlic hater. And, if I ever did, I would sneak roasted garlic in the dish and they would realize they truly were in love!

  • Garlic lover here too. Just the smell of it roasting is enough to keel me over! This sounds superb! I just seen a recipe for garlic soup, I had never heard of that before. I bought everything to make it today. The recipe doesn’t seem quite right so I may check out others recipes first 🙂

  • I totally enjoyed reading your post. And I am glad you liked Montalbano’s humor. It’s difficult to resist also his love for a good meal eaten with good intentions. I confess I did not think about cooking sole in honor of Ingrid 😉 Gosh, you are ahead of the game. A reminder for me to look for the book. Have a great weekend!

  • Great book review. I, too, enjoyed the subtle humor in the pages and the comparisons to the American cop shows.

    Your roasted garlic pasta sounds divine.

  • Yes, the humor is definitely what pulls the book up from the criminal horrors. And, a good dish of pasta with garlic would be something Montalbano might fix for himself, to go with whatever Adelina left him. Good garlic roasting tip too.

  • How fun to be inspired like this. Sadly I haven’t been able to do much reading since I started blogging 🙁

    • That’s what is great about CTB. It “forces” me to read some really good books and some books I would not normally pick up (like this one).

  • So would you recommend the tv series House of Cards Debra? We are always looking for new and good ones… a friend recently recommended Raising Hope. I bought Dexter as a Christmas gift but I’m totally creeped out. I just can’t seem to get into it.

    Did I hear Chocolate pear Jam?? 🙂 – I’ll be back. Meantime, love my garlic and your pasta looks so good (great idea roasting the garlic in the muffin cups!).

  • Oh goodie – I have a new book to read! We also have House of Cards in the queue an I can’t wait to start watching it. OH I can smell the garlic from here. I think pasta was invented as a complement for garlic. I can’t wait to try this!

  • So much to love in this post and review. The garlic of course–the muffin tin roasting tip is brilliant–how did I miss that before?! I am definitely checking out House of Cards now–I had heard of it a while back but now I really want to watch it. 😉

    I enjoyed Montalbano’s sense of humor too. I did want more food and less politics in the book but want to give the next one a try. Your pasta looks fantastic–bring on that garlic! I can see Montalbano enjoying a big bowl.

    Finally, I am so glad you loved The Color of Tea–it just screamed Cook the Books to me! I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.

  • This looks so good! Aglio e olio is one of our go-to dishes, and I love the idea of adding lovely nutty roasted garlic to that!

  • What a lovely dish! I can almost smell the nuttiness of the roasted garlic heads! mmmmm!!! Spring is here, so it must be time to start cooking Italian and Thai!! Love those herbs!

    • Thanks, Glennis. I really will up the garlic in the oil the next time I make this. You can never have too much garlic! 🙂