Garlic is a right cunt. It stinks like the whole of France, cuts you when you peel it and the cloves are small and fiddly. Nevertheless, a ragu without garlic is like trying to eat an egg when you don’t have any eggs and all the hens in the world have been wiped out by a combination of bird flu and Aids.
Sliver the ends off each clove, peel the remainder and then crush with a big wooden spoon (some people have garlic crushers) and cut into tiny little pieces. Wait for the carrots, celery and onion in the pan to soften (but not boil) and then hoy the garlic in. Give it another minute or so and add some balsamic vinegar and tomato purée to the mix. Then you want to boil that lot for no more than a minute.