I love fine dining places: they are the shrines preserving best and sometimes extinct methods of cooking and hence offer so many take-away ideas for your own kitchen explorations. The other day as I spoiled myself and a colleague of mine with a lunch at Darvin (Lviv, Ukraine) and I was mesmerized by the white mushrooms with herbs cooked en papillote, or in a folded pouch of parchment paper.
Usually before eating I perform a small test. I get my big nose closer to a plate with my food and take a very long inhale – if the food smell lasts as long as my inhale the food must be outstanding; if I can't feel the smell somewhere in the middle of my inhale the food must be passable. So, those mushrooms en papillote filled in my longest inhale with the aroma of the forest-grown mushrooms and fine herbs. Chalked up!
Despite being reputed as a ceremonial fine dining thing en papillote is incredibly easy to do as you don't need any special vessels for this and the method produces mind-boggling and nose-tickling results as all the juices and smells of your ingredients get imprisoned in the paper envelop and the food is cooked in its own juices and aromas swirling inside. I've replicated this method at home and since I am a big fan of pasta I've come up with this pasta en papillote recipe. Another good thing this cooking method is that you can pay farewells to the overcooked baked pasta as en papillote makes it perfectly al dente!
Squash & Fusilli Pasta En Papillote Recipe
1. Cook fusilli: Cook fusilli to al dente (6-7 minutes after boiling on a low flame). Cook 3-4 minutes longer if you prefer your pasta to be softer.