Author Notes: I think my confidence in roadside waiters has been restored - and all because of this fantastic dish we had in Rome. Actually, my husband had. On our way to a tour of the Pantheon by night, waiters lined the streets leading there, advertising their restaurants wares and eventually we went into one - the guy had hounded us enough. My husband ordered this while I went for the saltimboca. When our meals arrived, I had the worst case of menu envy ever. My husband's meal was out of this world and mine was...nice. I kept the receipt and when we came home, I set about recreating it. We had ours with mixed seafood, but I've also made it with chicken! In the 'R' months, add some shellfish and other times, use some shrimp/prawns. Either way, you wont regret it, especially the package it comes in - nicely wrapped up and baked in foil. And the name is a contraction of Linguine al cartoccio (meaning to bake in a bag). A recipe from Italian food @ about.com gave me a head start and I began the process of making it mine - Adding fish and prawns to the shellfish, upping the amount of basil, adding black olives and using linguine instead of spaghetti...just like he had that night in Rome. Some tips: Prepare the aluminum foil sheets ahead.
Fold the parcels directly on the oven tray (if you can) so you don’t have to move them from worktop to tray, risking disaster. Set all the parcels up at the same time so you can ensure an even distribution of fish/seafood and sauce in each parcel. Don’t leave the parcels for too long after baking in the oven otherwise the sauce dries up. —Kitchen Butterfly
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 a hot red chili pepper, deseeded and shredded
2 seabass, cleaned and cut into steaks (minus head and tail)
24 small shrimp, cleaned
12 large prawns, cleaned
12 - 24 clams or mussels
3 ripe but firm (roma) tomatoes, skinned and chopped finely
8 seedless black olives, sliced into rings
10 basil leaves, chiffonaded
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Salt to taste
Aluminum foil to make parcels
- Start off by preparing eight (8) A4-sized sheets of foil paper. You’ll need 2 per parcel. Lay these on the oven tray and leave on your counter/table-top.
- Put the oil in another pan and heat gently. Add the garlic, pepper, fish and other seafood and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, olives, basil and parsley. Leave to simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, checking flavours half way through. Adjust salt to taste.
- While the ‘sauce’ is simmering, put the oven on to pre-heat at 250C (450 F) and then cook your pasta in salted water till it is half (done as it will continue to cook in the oven). Drain it in a colander and while it is hot, transfer it to the pan of seafood, still dripping.
- Toss the pasta-sauce mixture gently, moving the pan about gently/as you would do if you were flipping an omelette so you don’t flake the fish to bits! Take off the heat and set aside.
- Time to make the parcels. - double up 2 foil sheets, shiny side down for each parcel. Place a spoonful of pasta and seafood in the centre of the foil. Repeat on the other pieces of foil. Lastly, stir the pan's juices well and pour the sauce over the portions of pasta.
- To make parcels, fold one side halfway over the pasta. Fold the other end in, overlapping the initial fold. Then roll both ends up to make a sealed pouch.
- Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, at which point the pouches will have puffed up, if they haven’t it will still taste fantastic so don't worry.
- Slide onto individual plates and enjoy.... with some bread on the side if you wish
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Shellfish
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Seafood Pasta
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Fresh Tomato Showstopper