Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baked Camembert Pasta

I do not consider myself a writer. I just thought I would take advantage of this time we have together to let you know that. In fact, I don't even really enjoy writing, but I do love cooking and this seems like a good way to document my foodie life. If I were to die my children could look this site up and say, yeah, wow, Mom used to make that for us. I'm not trying to be morbid. I have no plans of dying anytime soon, I'm just saying...that is what I am doing here. Well, that and I have this weird fascination of trying to remember what I made exactly a year ago today or two years ago today and sometimes, I get lucky because I will have written what I was making for dinner on my calendar and it can be forever documented. I know, I'm strange, it's ok. One thing I am sad about is that I am sooooo not computer savvy and so I have not figured out how to get pictures of the food I make onto this blog. It is probably ridiculously simple but still, I have not the foggiest. You eat first with your eyes and lots of times a recipe doesn't appeal to me until I have seen a picture of it. I want so badly to inspire people to cook delicious food but without fabulous pictures and witty writting I feel I am lacking. Maybe my ability to communicate will improve over time and I will figure out how to get pictures up on posts. Really, I want an awesome camera. I occasionally take pictures of my food and I have to tell you they don't always look so good. The type of camera you have makes all the difference. The lighting, the zoom, the softness, the sharpness. I love a good food picture!

These things are on my mind becuase I have been reading the food blog Smittenkitchen.com which I highly recommed, and it is the epitomy of a great food site. Lusty close up pictures of the process, prep and finished product (all taken with the utmost taste and quality) and superb writting skills to boot. It's good ole clean food porn is what it is. That sounds bad. I actually can't believe I said that, but I don't really know what to compare it to. Anyway her site gets about a million views a month. That's alot! How fun that must be! You should check it out. It's written by a woman named Deb and she endears herself to you over time.

Self wallowing aside, I did make a heck of a dinner last night thankyouverymuch! It's baked camembert pasta and it tastes even better than it sounds! You pop the top rind off a round of camembert cheese, leaving a tiny lip around the rim to hold everything in (camembert is reminescent of Brie) and then you top it with fresh rosemary and slices of garlic, a little drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and bake it until it is oozy and gooey. Then you spoon this lovely scented cheese over rigatoni pasta tubes that have been tossed with fresh spinach that have wilted from the heat and you are in absolute heaven. Heaven, really.


Baked Camembert Pasta
adapted from Jamie Oliver

1 8-ounce box camembert cheese
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Freshly ground balck pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces parmesan cheese
sea salt
1 pound rigatoni pasta (or penne) I used whole wheat
6 cups (about 6 ounces) fresh baby spinach leaves (I use a whole salad carton)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Open the box of cheese (camembert comes in a wooden round box) and unwrap it. Place it back in the wooden container. Score a circle into the top of the skin, or rind, leaving a border , then lift it off and discard. Peel and finely slice the garlic. pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalk. Lay the garlic slices on top of the cheese, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Scatter the rosemary leaves on top and gently pat with your fingers to coat them in oil. Grate the parmesan.

Place the box of cheese still in the wooden containers base on a cookie sheet and put into the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden and melted. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When your cheese has about 12 minutes left to cook, add the rigatoni to the pot and cook according to the package instructions. When the pasta is cooked, add the spinach tot he pot (it only need cooking 10 seconds or so) then drain the pasta and spinach in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water. Return pasta and spinach to the pot and let the spinach wilt. Drizzle with a couple of lugs of extra virgin olive oil and add the grated parmesan (or you can just top your individual bowl with parmesan if you dont want to get your pot all cheesey) If the sauce is a little thick for you add a splash of the reserved cooking water to thin it out a bit. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir. remove cheese from the oven.

Divide the pasta among your serving bowls. Either drizzle the melted camembert on top or pop the box of cheese on the table and let everyone help themselves to a lovely, gooey spoonful.

My only 2 notes on this is 1) make sure you really do slice your garlic very thin or else they wont cook all the way in the oven and this will lead you to biting into a spicy chunk and having garlic breath all night...not good and 2) this recipe is really long winded for something so simple. Really all you do is prep some chese, bake it and cook some pasta that you have added spinach to. This recipe comes out of Jamie's new cookbook "Jamie's Food Revolution"

So this is not the healthiest recipe, lets face it, but it's ok to have once and a while. Plus if you swap regular pasta for whole wheat, like I did, with the fresh spinach it makes it not such a gulity pleasure. Oh, and what a pleasure it is! Thank you Mr. Oliver, thank you.

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