Awhile back I posted about making Thai Coconut Soup from the Sriracha Cookbook. The recipe called for minced ginger, but feeling lazy I just put in a whole piece, peeled, on a skewer. I figured the ginger flavor would seep into the boiling broth and I could get out of mincing.

Making pasta the other day I thought I might try the same idea: put a large garlic clove into the boiling water and let the flavor give some zest to my plain-old penne.

Well I didn’t want to waste a perfectly good clove of softened garlic, so then I smushed it with a fork after the pasta was done and added it to my sauce. Often when I use raw garlic I tend to add it too soon or too late to sauces and sautes–either burning it (and trust me, burnt garlic is not tasty) or inadvertently leaving little, pungent uncooked chunks of garlic that surprise and repulse my kiddos.

Now as far as giving the pasta a garlic kick, well, didn’t happen. Or at least I didn’t notice any change in the pasta flavor. Ditto for my family. But I did like using the cooked garlic in whatever else I was making to go with the pasta like sauteed veggies, creamy sauces, or even smushed then mixed with fresh shredded Parmesan cheese and stirred into the pasta. One last idea: you can easily blend it with butter to spread on Italian bread.

Lately, I just toss the garlic in and fish it out once the pasta is cooked

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