Spaghetti Baked in a Paper Parcel
So how about this idea? Spaghetti al Cartoccio was invented as a dish for a romantic dinner, to surprise your partner with something unexpected. First of all, the meal is hidden and secondly, all of the aroma and fragrance is trapped in that paper case... so the effect of unleashing the wonderful perfume of the ingredients and their delicious appearance for yourself, on your own plate is an exciting one indeed! That special someone you are going to make this for, is going to be wooed and wowed! Oh- and you just may enjoy it yourself too!
The greatest thing about this dish is that it is so easy to make. Other great things include: it is cheap, quick, healthy, delicious and impressive. Is that enough for you there?
The ingredients I decided to use for this were carrot, celery and onion, to make a sofritto to get things started with, then zucchini, assorted bell peppers, Spring onion and cherry tomatoes. Simple stuff. But tasty! But of course you can use any ingredients you may like or prefer- the secret to this dish is the method of keeping it under wraps, so that no aromas can escape and so that all of the different flavors combine and get soaked into the pasta... and this is how to do it!
Start the pasta boiling and at the same time start your finely diced carrot and celery frying in a little olive oil. After 2-3 minutes add the finely sliced zucchini, Spring onion, a little crushed garlic, diced peppers and a handful of chopped parsley. The pasta can be turned off after 4 minutes... that's right! It is going to finish cooking in the oven.
Toss the ingredients, add the spaghetti, add the halved cherry tomatoes and a little drizzle of olive oil and then mix together well.
Now cut 4 circles of grease-proof paper and lay 2 out to be your base, then set out a portion of spaghetti into the middle of it- make sure to get a nice amount of each ingredient on there. Sprinkle generously with some seasoned, herb salt, a little nutmeg and a squeeze of lemon and then lay the other 2 circles of paper on top. Start folding over the edges, keeping the first fold small and then repeating and re-folding 2-3 times to make sure it stays shut. It is a little tricky, but just keep revolving it and it will come together just fine. Next step- off into a pre-heated oven at 300°F it goes for 10 minutes, to bring everything back up to temperature, cook the flavors into the spaghetti and finish it all off by steaming.
I suppose you are going to have to take my word for it or try it out for yourself until you believe it- but the aroma that escapes from that parcel is something out of this world- you are going to love it! And like I said- your guests will to! Enjoy!