I still get excited when anyone requests “garlic, extra garlic!”
It is indispensable in any Italian kitchen but it is not necessary to include garlic in every Italian recipe. The presence of garlic in your food will vary according to the way it is cut or chopped and the method in which it is cooked.
The more it is chopped or sautéed the stronger it becomes. A whole clove dropped into a pot of sauce will be gentle in flavor, thin raw slices will emit a sweet fragrance into the food but when lightly browned in oil their flavor is intensified. Chopped garlic will be bold and ever present.
My mom would crush the garlic with the heel of her hand or the flat blade of a knife and sauté it to a pale gold color before incorporating it into a marinara sauce, but it was sliced raw into salads.