Rigatoni with Brussel Sprouts, Bacon, and Arugula.
To impart the taste of fresh, uncooked garlic to sauteed recipes without leaving bits of sliced or minced garlic in the finished dish, add a smashed garlic clove in the last few minutes of cooking, then remove it before serving. For a greater impact, leave it in longer; take it out quickly if just a hint of garlic is what you’re after.
Serves 6 as a starter or pasta course - 4 as a main course.
48  pieces dried rigatoni (about 4 cups), preferably De Cecco
3   tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2   tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4   ounces smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
10  ounces Brussels sprouts (about 12), trimmed and quartered lengthwise
2   tablespoons unsalted butter
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2   garlic cloves: 1 thinly sliced, 1 smashed with the side of a chef’s knife and peeled
2   cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2¼  cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1   lemon, juiced
¼   cup minced fresh herbs, either a mix of flat-leaf parsley, dill, and tarragon, or just parsley
2   cups loosely packed baby arugula, washed and spun dry
toasted bread crumbs (see recipe below)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, give a stir, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander, return it to the pot, and toss with the oil. Use right away or spread the pasta out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool, then hold at room temperature for up to 8 hours.
2. Select a wide, heavy, not-to-deep pot that can hold most of the ingredients in a single layer, or close to it. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the pot over medium heat for a few seconds, just to keep the bacon from sticking when added, then add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook until the bacon is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes more. Season generally with salt and a few grinds of pepper.
3. Add the parcooked pasta and remaining 1 tablespoon butter and cook, stirring, until the pasta is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and 1 cup of the stock. Cover and cook until the pasta has absorbed the stock, 3 to 4 minutes. Add another 1/2 cup stock, cover, and cook until it is reduced and the pasta is cooked through and glazed, stirring in a few more tablespoons of the stock, if necessary, to cause a glaze to form. Stir in the smashed garlic clove, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, the lemon juice, and the herbs. If the pasta seems too dry, stir in a little more stock or water.
4. Remove and discard the smashed garlic clove. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the arugula, just wilting it, about 20 seconds.
5. Divide the rigatoni among six plates (or four as an entree) or wide shallow bowls. Top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs, and serve.
6. To make toasted bread crumbs, preheat oven to 275 degrees. Dice day-old bread and put it in a bowl. (If you don’t have any day-old bread, you can lightly toast bread in a low oven until just hardened.) Grate 1 or 2 garlic cloves, depending on the intensity of flavor desired, into the bowl using a Microplane. Pick the thyme leaves from 2 or 3 sprigs, and add them to the bowl, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the bread out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, shaking occasionally to endure even cooking, until lightly golden, completely dry, and hardened, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to crumbs, but do not overprocess or they will become sandy. Bread crumbs can be held in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks.
Joseph Ogrodnek, Walker Stern, and Andrew Friedman, Battersby, New York, NY