Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baked Camembert Pasta

I happened to be grocery shopping with my friend Jen recently and saw a marked down package of camembert cheese in the deli section. I turned to her and said, "Didn't you use camembert for something recently?" To which she replied, "Why yes I most certainly did." Or something along those lines in the way of an affirmative answer. She said it was like a decadent, grown-up mac and cheese. Sold! That was all I needed to hear to throw the package in my cart. I know I've professed my love for mac and cheese before, so I won't bore you with the details of it again.

I'm copying the recipe from Jen's blog but she found it from a Jamie Oliver cookbook.

Baked Camembert Pasta
Source: Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver

a box of Camembert Cheese (250g)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, pick the leaves off the woody stalk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
100g grated Parmesan cheese
400g dried rigatoni
150g fresh spinach

1. Open the box of cheese and unwrap it. Place it back to the wooden container.

2. Score a circle into the top of the skin, then lift it off and discard.

3. Lay the garlic slices on top of the cheese, sprinkle some pepper and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil.

4. Scatter the rosemary leaves over the top and gently pat with your fingers to coat them in the oil.

5. Bake the cheese in a preheated oven of 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes, until golden and melted. (***May take a little longer until the cheese is melted***)

6. When the cheese has 10 minutes left to cook, add the pasta to the pan and cook according to packet instructions.

7. When the pasta is cooked, add the spinach to the pan – it only needs cooking for 10 seconds or so.

8. Drain the pasta and spinach to the pan and let it wilt.

9. Drizzle with a couple of good lugs of extra virgin olive oil and add the grated Parmesan. If the sauce is too thick for you, add a splash of reserved cooking water to thin out a bit. Season with salt and pepper and give it a good stir.

10. Remove the cheese from the oven. Divide the pasta between your serving bowls. Either drizzle the melted Camembert on top or pop cheese on the table and let everyone help themselves to a lovely, gooey spoonful.


I forgot the spinach when I was getting the other ingredients I needed. Oops. And I used whole wheat rotini instead of rigatoni. This was indeed a decadent, grown-up mac and cheese. So much so that I tried to ration the amount of cheese I gave my kids on their pasta so that the husband and I could have more. When I pulled the cheese out of the oven it smelled AMAZING. And the cheese was all gooey and melty with yummy slices of garlic and bits of rosemary on top. Oh man. I seriously could have stood there and eaten it with a spoon.

I don't know how often I'd make this just because camembert is not an inexpensive cheese, so it would have to be a special occasion. Or if I happened to find it marked down again. But if it's in your grocery budget, I say give this a try. But only if you look gooey, melty, awesomeness.

I would advise putting your cheese on a baking sheet of some sort. Just in case something like this happens. It would 1) be a shame to lose the cheese and 2) suck to have to clean that mess up from the bottom of your oven.

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