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Roasted Garlic Pasta with Pecans
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Chef Spike


  • 3/4 lb (.3 kg) shelled raw pecans, whole or chopped
  • 1 or more Jalapenos (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 4 cups (950 ml) heavy cream
  • 4 cups (950 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (225 ml) cornstarch (optional to thicken)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lbs (.9 kg) or more penne pasta
  • 1 cup (225 ml) shredded asiago or parmesan cheese
  • Preheat an oven to 400 degrees (200 C.).
  • Peel the garlic and place it in a metal pan.
  • Coat it with the oil and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so the garlic browns evenly.
  • Mince in blender when done and add to the sauce.
  • While this is cooking, spread the pecans evenly on a ungreased sheet pan.
  • Roast for five minutes or until they are nicely browned.
  • Grind in a food processor or blender for about 25 seconds. The nuts should be about the size of wheat berries when they are sufficently chopped. Be careful not to overdo it. If they are ground too fine, it will make the cream too grainy.
  • Next, seed and dice the jalapeno.
  • In a small stock pot, saute the jalapeno in a small amount of olive oil.
  • Add the chopped nuts and stir for a few minutes over a medium heat.
  • Blend in the cream and milk. I chose to use milk because it is cheaper than cream. If you want, you can use eight cups of cream or if you so desire, you may also use eight cups of skim milk. Using only skim milk will result in a loss of quality in the flavor and creaminess of the sauce. You will also have to add more cornstarch. As long as you put equal amounts of milk and cream, the sauce will retain a good texture. Stir often enough to keep the sauce from burning.
  • By now the garlic should be done or close to it. Add it whenever it is ready.
  • Salt and pepper to taste and continue to heat until it comes to a slow boil.
  • Heat water to cook the pasta. Add a little salt to the water to help the noodles from sticking to each other.
  • When the water boils, add noodles and cook 7 to 8 minutes or al dente.
  • Check the sauce and continue to stir often enough to keep from burning.
  • Mix about a 1/2 cup (125 ml) cold water with the cornstarch. Add when the sauce comes to a boil. Mix well and bring it to a boil again.
  • Thicken or thin with milk until desired consistency is obtained.
  • Toss with pasta and garnish with cheese.
  • I like this sauce thin as the sauce tends to stick to the noodles too much if it is too thick.
It is a recipe that was influenced by my experiences in California. I used ingredients that are grown in California and noting the Hispanic influence in my area, chose to insert some in this as well.

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