Spaghetti baked in parchment paper

by Ursula Ferrigno

A dish for maximum visual effect from regular Italian demo chef Ursula Ferrigno

This dish is perfect for a dinner party, as the flavours and aromas are trapped inside the parchment paper, released only when the paper is slashed open. It’s also good for a picnic or lunch in the garden; pasta cools down very quickly after being drained and tossed in its sauce but wrapped in its paper packaging, it remains wonderfully hot. And parcels always produce a great element of surprise!


2 tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled but left whole
450g ripe fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp fresh de-seeded and chopped hot red chilli or pepper (pepperoncino)
275g spaghetti
10 black olives, pitted
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Parmesan to taste, freshly grated


Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Prepare 4 pieces of parchment paper, each about 30 x 20cm.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. When warm, add the garlic and saute for 2 mins.

Discard the garlic, add the chopped tomatoes to the flavoured oil in the pan and simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper and add the chilli. Pass the contents of the pan through a food mill or liquidiser. Return to the pan and reduce over a medium heat for 10 mins.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in rolling, boiling, salted water for half the time indicated on the packet only, then drain well. Add the olives and half the parsley to the tomato sauce and mix in the pasta. Adjust the seasoning.

Place the portions of pasta in the middle of each piece of parchment paper and scrunch the edges of each package to tightly close it. Place the packages in a roasting tin and bake for approximately 7 mins, depending on the thickness of the spaghetti you have chosen.

Remove the tin from the oven and place each package on a warm plate. Guests can open their own packages and sprinkle the insides with the remaining parsley leaves and some parmesan to taste.

Recipe: Ursula Ferrigno