I adore roasted garlic – the roasting process takes some of the pungency out of the raw clove and adds a deep rich and sweet quality. There are many techniques for roasting garlic but I think the easiest is wrapping the whole (albeit halved), heads in foil and baking them until golden brown. Once the flesh is tender, you simply squeeze it from the papery skin and you’re off to the races. Try adding roasted garlic to vinaigrettes for another layer of flavor; stir roasted garlic into your favorite cheese fillings for baked ziti, stuffed shells and lasagna; or simply spread the heavenly puree on crackers and serve with cheese and fruit. I pulled two recipes from my latest cookbook, “Robin Takes 5” for this post because they both feature roasted garlic. Since all 500 recipes in the cookbook have 5 ingredients or less, each ingredient truly matters and roasted garlic comes to the party ready to deliver.
Here’s how to roast garlic for the following recipes (store any leftover garlic in a sealable container in the refrigerator).
Halve 2 garlic heads through the equator. Wrap halves in foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour, until golden brown and tender. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the softened garlic cloves from the papery skin and use as directed.
Chunky Tomato Soup With Sweet Corn and Crispy Shallots
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (28-ounce) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen sweet corn (white corn or white and yellow corn blend), keep frozen until ready to use
2 tablespoons chopped roasted garlic
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Spread shallots out on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss shallots to coat with oil. Roast 10 minutes, until shallots are golden brown and crisp.
Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, broth, corn and roasted garlic in a large saucepan and set pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with shallots.
Stuffed Manicotti With Roasted Garlic Ricotta
12 manicotti shells
15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons mashed roasted garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Cook manicotti shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine ricotta, roasted garlic and parsley. Mix well to combine. Spoon ricotta mixture into manicotti shells and place stuffed shells side-by-side in a shallow baking dish. Brush olive oil over shells and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until top is golden brown.
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Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Takes 5” and “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.