I love noodles. Most any kind. Noodles is my broad ranging word for pasta. Say it, 'noodles'. See! It's homey and comfortable. Feels good. It's a friendlier, happier word than 'pasta', which is fufu or just too detached and a litte blah. We'll have none of that around here!
NOODLES. Yeahhh....now we're talking. Like you, I have my favorite noodle shapes too. I love good old fashioned elbow macaroni, really skinny egg noodles and angel hair, sauce hugging lumache are way up high on my list, orechiette is so great in soup and I have a particular love affair (that's amore!) with pappardelle.
Those gorgeous, very broad ribbons of fettucine are such a perfect choice for so many sauces and preparations, and they have just the right 'bite', the right mouthfeel, if you know what I mean. The name 'pappardelle' is derived from the verb 'pappare' which means to gobble up. So appropos.
I had four beautiful, thick, centre-cut pork chops brining in a seasoned beer mixture in the fridge which to me was the perfect excuse to make some kind of pappardelle. To go with the chops. Alfredo beat everyone else to the finish. And so it was. Yum-O.
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Here we go.....................I always add roasted garlic to my Alfredo sauce. It adds a soft, velvety, almost nutty garlic overtone.
So first things first. Cut the very tops off of two nice plump heads of garlic, sprinkle with good olive oil and sea salt.
Time to roast some grape or cherry tomatoes. Plop 1 pint of fresh, clean grape tomatoes onto a baking pan and toss to coat with a little olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and sea or kosher salt.
Roast tomatoes 15-20 minutes at 400F until they get all caramely sweet. We LOVE these at our house. They're like veggies that turn into candy when you cook them. We put them on toast, fresh baked foccacia, noodles or just pop them.
Once you have these two roasted goodies ready you can make your sauce anytime so it's ready when you're ready to toss with your al dente pappardelle.
PAPPARDELLE ALFREDO with Roasted Grape Tomatoes
2 heads garlic, with the very top cut off to expose the cloves
1 pint fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, washed
Good quality olive oil, sea or kosher salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
Very finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups of good quality Parmesan or Romano or Asigo or any combinations of these cheeses
1 pound pappardelle
**Sometimes I add a bit of fresh chopped basil to my sauce, or sprinkled on the noodles when ready to serve.
Preheat oven to 400F. Clean excess skin off of garlic heads. Place in small baking pan, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake 1 to 1 1/4 hours until garlic is deliciously aromatic and toasty golden. Set aside.
Plop grape or cherry tomatoes on baking pan. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Bake for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are softly caramelized. Set aside.
In medium pot, melt butter over medium low heat. Add cream, grated lemon zest and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine. Pop or squish toasted garlic cloves out of their skin and into the cream. Squish the garlic a little more with your spoon to help the flavours do their thing. Add cheese and stir gently until cheese melts into the cream mixture. You can either use the sauce right away or set aside and rewarm when ready to serve.
Cook pappardelle in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain when just al dente. Toss noodles with creamy cheese mixture. Place in serving bowl. Top with roasted tomatoes and sprinkle with a little more grated cheese. Let noodles rest in the serving bowl, for just a couple of minutes. This helps the noodles and the sauce get their act together. Now, dig in and gooble them up. That's Amore!