We happened upon these pre-folded parchment bags at the grocery store a few months back and decided that it would be fun to make a dinner en papillote, or 'in paper.' They sat unused for a while until we resolved this week to begin focusing on a wider variety of healthy dishes at home. Although we love to cook, we too get stuck in the rut of yummy carb-and-bread comfort foods like mac n' cheese, pizza, and grilled cheese. It is dawning on us that these types of things are really not supposed to be enjoyed every meal of every day! So these little packets offered us a delicious new adventure and experiment.
This method of cooking is a fairly healthy one because it takes no fat to steam food, which is essentially what we're doing here. We have added a little olive oil to this recipe for flavor, but you could leave it out if you like. What happens in the bag is that the flavor inherent in each component melds with each of the other components to create a big and balanced result. One of the secrets is only cooking the pasta halfway. That gives it the ability to absorb the liquid from the mushrooms and the greens.
Sure, there was skepticism, but once our nostrils were inundated with the aroma of that delicious steam, we were both sold. This is something we'll make again for sure.
Portobello En Papillote
1 cup dry orzo pasta
4 medium portobello mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
crushed red pepper (to taste)
2 cups fresh arugula
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
4 cloves garlic (smashed)
1 organic lemon (thinly sliced in to 8 pieces)
4 short sprigs rosemary
4 parchment paper bags or 4 large sheets of parchment to fold your own bag.
Cook pasta in boiling, salted water for only half of the recommended cooking time. Drain and set aside to cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice each mushroom, but keep the slices in order so the original shape of the mushroom cap remains unchanged. Place the 4 mushroom caps on a plate and drizzle each with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt, black pepper, and crashed red pepper to taste.
Now build each dish by placing 1/4 of the orzo in each bag followed by 1/4 of the greens, sun-dried tomato, 1 sliced mushroom cap, 1 crush clove of garlic, 2 lemon slices, and 1 sprig of rosemary. Fold the packet so it is tightly closed and cook for 30 minutes. (Serves 4.)