This pasta & mushroom dish, baked en papillotte (in a paper bag), is an easy to prepare meal which will entertain your guests with a hint of theatre.
Recently I was contacted by an Italian food magazine, Bellavita, and asked if I'd like to take part in their Blogger's Pasta Challenge. (It's now published, so do go and check out the delicious dishes the other five UK bloggers have made!) I was delighted to have been asked, but what sort of pasta dish should I make.
From one of the groaning shelves which houses
our my many cook books, I reached for a large glossy book imaginatively called 'Pasta' (Edited by Linda Fraser, 1996) in the hope it would give some inspiration! Many of the dishes sounded delicious; lasagne, cannelloni, pasta salads and so on, but the dish which particularly caught my attention was 'Baked Seafood Spaghetti'. Much of the dish was par-cooked ahead of time and then parcelled up in a greaseproof paper bag before being baked. Although the recipe sadly didn't mention much about the virtues of this cooking method, I was enthralled. It looked so interesting. Certainly not something I've done before.
Now, as Only Crumbs Remain shares vegetarian recipes and given the recipe which had caught my attention included copious amounts of muscles (400g actually) I clearly had to make some major alterations!
Not wanting to include too much liquid in the parcel for fear of it all trickling out as it finished its bake, I decided to go with a buttery, garlic mushroom feel. We bought a pack of mushrooms which contained maitake, eryngii, shiitake & oyster. The medley of mushrooms gave even more interest to the dish than using the usual button mushrooms. Pasta wise, we came across pappardelle which is an egg pasta shaped like tagliatelle though this is textured to allow sauces to grip onto it. It really was a delicious pasta. We cooked some more of it the other evening, served with a tomato sauce, which we often make, and again found the pasta to be full of flavour. I must admit, the pasta was a little more expensive than the type we usually select, so feel free to substitute the pappardelle with tagliatelle or even spaghetti.
En papillotte is the posh phrase given to something baked in a (usually) paper bag in the oven. It allows the food to cook with a build up of steam whilst retaining all of the flavours and aromas. In this case the pasta was par-cooked before being assembled with the mushrooms in a greaseproof paper envelope. The parcel was then popped into the oven to allow the pasta to finish cooking. By this point the mushrooms had cooked through; the butter had melted; the garlic, lemon and thyme had mingled to create a fantastic aroma; and the pasta was al dente! Perfect!
Oh boy! The anticipation felt when opening the parcel was immense. The aroma emitting from the paper bag was delightful. The paper bag was carefully cut open. The scent-packed steam filled my nostrils even more. Mmm it was fabulous. The taste sure lived up to the aroma too. The pasta was cooked perfectly, and when eaten with the medley of mushrooms which each gave their own unique texture and flavour alongside the notes of lemon, garlic and thyme....well all I can say is that we are definitely going to be having this again very soon!
So, let's get to it and cook!
Pappardelle & Mushrooms en Papillotte Yum
Yield: 2 parcels
Serves: 2Difficulty: Easy
Time: hands on time about 15-20 minutes; bake time 20-25 minutes
Large Tray with sides
Ingredients:6 Garlic Cloves
Sunflower / Vegetable Oil
c140g Dried Pappardelle Pasta, we bought this from Sainsburys (tagliatelle or spaghetti would also work well)
200g mixed mushrooms (our box contained Maitake, Eryngii, Shiitake & Oyster)
Pinch of salt
20g Unsalted Butter, plus extra for greasing
4 x thin slices Lemon
2 x small sprigs Thyme
Method:1. Preheat the oven to 200c / 180c Fan / Gas 6
2. Prepare the greaseproof paper. Cut 4 sheets of paper at least 45cm long. Sit one sheet on top of another to create a double layer (this will provide a little more protection to the pasta whilst in the hot oven). Fold in half. Open out. The fold in the greaseproof paper will have created two oblongs, spread a generous amount of butter over one of the oblongs up to the fold line but leaving a clear boarder of about 5-7cm around the edge. Repeat with the other two sheets. Set aside.
2. Roast the garlic cloves. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves onto a small tray and drizzle with a little sunflower or vegetable oil. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes until softened.
3. Prepare the pasta. Cook the pasta for half the time specified in the instructions on the packet. Drain and toss through a little olive oil.
4. Prepare the mushrooms. Whilst the pasta is cooking, clean the mushrooms with a damp piece of kitchen roll, trim their base and slice the larger mushrooms.
5. Assemble. Place half of the part cooked pasta onto the buttered greaseproof paper. Aim to keep the pasta near the fold line and retain the clear boarder. Top with half of the prepared mushrooms. Squeeze 3 of the roasted garlic cloves over the top of the mushrooms and scatter with a pinch of salt. Generously dot small cubes of butter (10g) over the pasta and mushrooms. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Top with 2 slices of lemon and a sprig of thyme. Lift the flap of greaseproof paper to cover the ingredients. Make small double folds to the edges of the four layers of paper from left to right to create a secure envelope. Twist the two ends a little. Repeat to create a second parcel.
6. Bake. Place the parcels on a large baking tray and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. The parcels should puff up. Serve immediately, being careful of the escaping steam as you open the parcel with scissors.
This post has been shared with:
Meatfree Mondays hosted by Jacqualine over at Tinned Tomatoes
Sunday Fitness & Food Linkup, co-hosted by Angela at Marathons & Motivation and Ilka at Ilka's Blog