ricotta & spinach mix

spinachSo you've bought a heap of milk, simmered with buttermilk, skimmed, drained, salted and dried. And now you have your very own, home made lump of ricotta. You've made one batch and eaten the lot in pancakes, on toast and with fruit. You've made another batch and given it away to friends. And now there's more of it. "What to do now?" you think to yourself. Well try this. Introducing one easy recipe that can be used in a variety of situations and circumstances. It won't do much for you when you've got a leaking toilet, a sick rabbit and an exam the next morning, but it's a great thing to have in store when you have people on their way over for a "quick bite". Especially if those people know you as the-one-who-makes-good-things-for-eating.

imagename
spinach, sans stalk

spinach & ricotta mix

ingredients:

one bunch of english spinach
100g pine nuts
200g ricotta
100g mild, melty yellow cheese (I used a fresco pecorino)
1 egg
salt & pepper

method:

1. There's no two ways about it. Spinach is a gritty, dirty vegetable. So you'll have to clean it up. Best way? Pull all the leaves apart and rinse them. Done that? Now stick the rinsed leaves in a colander and put the colander in a bigger bowl of water. Now soak, turning the leaves every once in a while. When you pull the colander up and out of the bowl of water, you'll see all the dirt you almost missed. Eeeeyeurgh!

trimming spinach
removing the stems

2. We only need the leaves for this recipe, so cut the tough stalky bit away. This may take a while. It is also a little tricky, so don't get too caught up trying to remove all the veins. Getting rid of the central stalk should be sufficient. You can feed this bit to your bunny. Or boil it up with carrots etc for a vege stock.

spinach in a pot
spinach pre-cooking

3. You should have about 350g of spinach once they're all sans-stalk. Shake each leaf lightly and put it in a pot. We don't want them dripping wet or totally dry. If the water clings to the leaf, it gets to stay with the leaf.

spinach in a pot
spinach post-cooking

4. Put the pot over a low heat and stick the lid on. Check it every couple of minutes. It'll end up looking much smaller than it did when you first started with it. Turn the heat off when the spinach is cooked all the way through.

spinach squeezed and chopped
spinach: squeezed & chopped

5. Let the spinach cool for a little while and then squeeze as much moisture out as you can with your hands. This will be hot, so please be careful. Nothing worse than hands that smell like spinach that are also burnt.

6. All squeezed out? Great. Now chop it up roughly. It likes it rough. Plus it'll get minced later on.

pine nuts in a pan
pine nuts: pre-roasting

7. While all this is happening, perhaps when you're waiting for the spinach to cool, or maybe after it's all chopped, toss your pine nuts in a pan over low heat. No butter/oil/fat ok? Just nuts. Good? Good.

pine nuts in a pan
pine nuts: post-roasting

8. Toss them around every once in a while. After a couple of minutes, you'll start to smell lovely nutty smells. That's the oil being released. And you'll have to watch carefully from this point on. Toss Toss Toss. Check. Squish. When the nuts have a lovely brown (but not burnt) exterior and squish easily between your finger & thumb, they're ready. So pull 'em off the heat.

pine nuts in a processor
grind 'em up!

9. It's all easy going from here. Toss the pine nuts in a food processor and whiz til they're broken up a bit. Not too fine - we want to be able to feel them when we're eating.

add cheese & spinach
whizzwhizzwhurrrr!

10. Next, the two cheeses and the spinach. Go whirrrrrrrr! Again, not too fine, just until the cheese is broken up and happily distributed amongst the carnage.

add one egg
add the egg

11. Finally the egg. For binding goodness. Again, just til its incorporated.

finished mix
the finished mix!

12. And we're done! This mix can be packed up into an airtight container and frozen, or used fresh from the processor. "Used for what?" you ask. For many things. Really! Things such as filled pastries and pastas and... oh, I'm giving the game away aren't I? You'll just have to wait & see :)

7 bites more:

Betty said...

haha. "the-one-who-makes-good-things-for-eating" - the pressure!!

this looks like it would be very versatile.. looking forward to seeing where it might pop up next :)

Stephcookie said...

I'm excited to see what this goes into! Awesome that you can just freeze it and use it whenever you fancy.

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

Mmm, yummy cheese and spinach. It's extra good to hear that you can freeze it.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Spinach and cheese is an excellent combo, one of my favourites and it always feels a bit healthier than a mince filling for a cannelloni too! :)

FFichiban said...

MMMMMMMMmmmm I love spinach and cheese ^^! I am foresee some palak paneer, spinach and ricotta cannelloni, triangles/pastries and of course a pie or 2 ;) mmm

smileona said...

YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
SHEZ why arent you a CHEF?????

my sister makes spinach and ricotta pastry rolls its sooo yummyyyyy cant wait to seee the leading entry to this

shez said...

Betty: don't all food-lovin people get tagged with that moniker? it's not a bad one by all means. just high pressure :)

Stephcookie: yuhuh - and oh how i love the freezer...

Arwen: alls i need to do now is learn to make fetta for that extra bite. yum.

Lorraine: hear hear to that. the resident meat-a-saurus didn't even complain about the lack of meat. bril!

FFichiban: you read my mind :)

smileona: isn't it good with pastry? loveit! (and thanks for being so nice... i'm just an amateur!)

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