Make Ahead

Seafood Spaghetti Baked in Paper (Spaghetti al Cartoccio)

September 26, 2014
3 Ratings
Author Notes

This is quite an ingenious dish: You can prepare these little paper packages earlier in the day and simply bake them right before serving. If you can't find the exact shellfish typical of the Mediterranean, don't worry. Ask your trusted fishmonger for some advice on what is good and in season and substitute as you please. Linguine and short pasta shapes also work well in place of spaghetti.

I like to leave the shells on for visual effect, but feel free to remove them in advance if you like. You can either make individually wrapped pastas (my preference) or make one large one. Simply place a couple of large sheets of foil in a suitably sized baking or casserole dish and fold the foil over to close and seal in the steam. —Emiko

  • Serves 4
  • 4 large, fresh tomatoes
  • 11 ounces (300 grams) clams
  • 11 ounces (300 grams) calamari, cut into rings
  • 8 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of parsley, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 11 ounces (320 grams) dried spaghetti
In This Recipe
  1. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute, then peel off the skins, remove the seeds with a spoon, and chop the flesh into cubes. Set aside.
  2. Rinse the clams and soak them in a bowl of cold water for about an hour to expel any sand.
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet and, over very high heat, cook calamari rings for 1 minute. Remove from heat, season with salt, and set aside. Turn heat down to low, and add the garlic, shrimp, and clams. Toss to combine, then add the tomatoes and white wine and season with chile flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and let the liquid reduce. After a few minutes, when the clams open and the prawns are cooked, remove them and set aside with the calamari. Continue cooking the sauce for another 5 minutes.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and return the seafood back to the sauce. Add parsley.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water until it boils. Add a hefty pinch of salt and parboil the spaghetti for 5 minutes. Drain the pasta (reserving some of the cooking water) and add it to the sauce, tossing to coat.
  6. Place the spaghetti in baking paper or aluminum foil packages, distributing the seafood evenly and adding a ladle of sauce and, if needed, some of the pasta cooking water. Fold up the paper so that steam won't escape and place on a baking tray (alternatively, make the packages directly on the baking tray so you don't have to move them). Bake for 5 to 7 minutes at 350º F. Serve the packets immediately, allowing guests to open them up at the table for a nice surprise.

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The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.