40 Cloves of Garlic Spaghetti

Whole garlic cloves are caramelized stove-top in an olive oil and butter bath until they turn a gorgeous shade of warm, golden brown all the way through to their very centers. The cloves are briefly simmered in tomato sauce then tossed with spaghetti and fresh basil before being served with Romano cheese.

Sweet yet still pungent, soft and a lot mellower than their raw form, the caramelized garlic truly melts in your mouth. The sweet basil and sharp bite of the Romano cheese try hard to balance out the strong, earthy flavor it brings but the garlic dominates. And rightly so with 3 bulbs of garlic in the mix!

In case you’re wondering, I popped these right in my mouth whole. All 40 cloves. Like some kind of crazy, Italian-girl candy.

You see, my family was away. This is how I party. By eating leftover garlic candy with spaghetti wrapped around it for three or four days. In a row.

Thank goodness for them they were away! I’m fairly certain you could smell me from a mile off, like garlic was braided into my hair.

If you’re bashful, faint of heart or the thought of eating garlic cloves whole just plain scares you then mash them up and mix them into the sauce.

But before you do that, know this: eating them whole is way more fun. . . it feels naughty. Sinful. Kind of daring. Like you’re doing something you shouldn’t.

And that’s about as close to living on the edge as I get.

Caramelized Garlic

40 Cloves of Garlic Spaghetti

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

40 Cloves of Garlic Spaghetti

Sweet and pungent, caramelized garlic cloves dominate this spaghetti and tomato sauce.


40 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1 – 2 jars* of your favorite sauce or homemade
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup fresh basil or two tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
Romano cheese, fresh grated, for serving


  1. Add garlic, olive oil, butter and salt to a 9-inch skillet over low heat, bring to a slow simmer (tiny bubbles) and cook for 25-30 minutes turning the garlic every 5-10 minutes so all sides are lightly and slowly browned.
  2. In a large saucepan heat the sauce, doctoring it up with spices, salt and pepper as needed. Add garlic and most, if not all of the oil/butter. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cook spaghetti to al dente in plenty of salted water. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water; add pasta, pasta water and basil to sauce, stir gently and cook over low heat 5 minutes. Serve with fresh grated Romano cheese.


*Depending on how saucy you like it.

Inspired by The Best Thing I Ever Ate


40 Cloves Garlic Spaghetti

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  1. BeadedTail says

    You certainly know how to live on edge Reeni!  I like garlic but not sure I could do that much garlic but I'd be willing to try!Gentle headbonks to Moon!

  2. says

    It was that new lady Melissa's favorite – I'm not sure which restaurant it was from  – if you follow the link to Food Network it has the list of the restaurants from that episode.

  3. says

    I love whole garlic cloves……there was an Italian restaurant that used to serve garlic that was baked in oil and butter with bread as an appetizer.

  4. says

    I love that show…I wonder whose favorite dish this is and which restaurant it was from?  This looks amazing…I always pick out the garlic cloves when they are in a dish like this, however I have never had a dish that centered around the garlic cloves – holy smokes – this sounds truly amazing.

  5. Velva-Tomatoes on th says

    Garlic when allowed to mellow is like butter in your mouth.  This looks amazing.Velva

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