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Recipe for Penne al Cartoccio

The authentic italian pasta recipes cookbook has many surprises for us in store, just begging to be discovered. The Penne al cartoccio is an example of an original and creative way to have your pasta... Cartoccio means 'pouch' in italian, as here the pasta is partly cooked in a bag. This is a light tasting fish recipe, good to eat in any season. This way of preparing pasta (al cartoccio) may seem odd, but it is a spectacular and interesting departure from what your guests might have already seen. In this recipe I use aluminum foil pouches for their thermal efficiency but perhaps you can use a more stylish presentation with paper pouches and more time in the oven.

Ingredients for 6 people:

1 lb. Penne lisce
3/4 lb. squid or calamari washed, cleaned, gutted and sliced in rings
3/4 lb. cod fillets
1/2 lb. Shrimp
2 small green zucchini, chopped
2 Leeks
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried chives
one glass white wine
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
18 pitted black olives
Two tablespoons basil
Italian herbs mix

Cooking instructions:

Empty in a deep skillet the contents of the can of diced tomatoes, add the leeks (previously sliced crossways in thin slices), the wine, two tablespoons italian herbs, and the calamari rings.

Cook under medium heat in your covered skillet for 10 minutes and then add in the zucchini pieces.
Resume the cooking, covered, for another 10 minutes.
Verify seasoning and add salt or spices of necessary. At this point, add in the shrimp, the fillets of cod cut to small squares, the basil, the olive oil; stir. Turn the heat off.

Meanwhile boil your pasta until it is almost cooked (because the pasta will finish cooking in the oven), in enough salted water, when ready drain them. Pour the pasta in the skillet with the sauce (provided it is large enough), and mix gently.

Slice your pitted black olives.
Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
Cut six aluminum foil squares. Divide the pasta with sauce in six portions and pour each individual portion on one of the six aluminum squares; divide the olives among the pouches as well, now close each aluminum square to form a sealed pouch; place the closed bags on an oven-going plate and bring the plate to the oven when it has reached the required temperature. Bake in the oven no more than 5 minutes.

Transfer each individual pouch to each plate and serve as-is. Allow your guests to open their own individual pouches.

Buon Appetito!