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Christmas Morning: Spinach Pie

31 Dec

Christmas Eve is usually the big Capasso meal.  Which means we like to scale it back on Christmas morning (sort of).  Spinach pie combines veggies and eggs in a handheld snack that’s easy to hold while you’re opening presents.  And it’s so easy, a 19-month old can help you prepare it!

SPINACH PIE
1 garlic clove, crushed
2T olive oil
2 10oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2lb mozzarella cheese, cubed (use the brick cheese, not a fresh ball)
1/4C Parmesan cheese, grated
8 eggs, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 unbaked 10-inch pie crust

Swish garlic in heated olive oil. Remove from skillet and add spinach, stirring to coat with oil. Combine eggs, cheeses, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add spinach and stir to blend. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cool, slice and serve.

See? I told you a 19-month old could do it. Mangia!

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Gianna’s Gigantic Appetite: Ravioli Two Ways

11 Nov

Of late, my obsession with food has been rivaled by only one thing: Gianna Rose Roberts.  The arrival of my first niece 18 months ago is, from what I can tell, just about the most exciting event to happen in my family in approximately three decades.  Deservedly so, of course.  The first child of my only brother and his wife (who is an only child) “Gia” is a perfect little human; blue-eyed and blonde and hilarious– in exciting new developments, she has just started saying her own name and indicating her age by holding up one tiny index finger right next to her face.  A genius, clearly.

Not for nothing, this girl loves to eat.  Sweet potatoes and bananas and blueberries and Cheerios (of course).  But no food compares to the excitement she exhibits when faced with her favorite, ravioli.  I’m telling you, the result is an epic freakout.  She’s the size of a large cat and last I saw her, she had 13 in one sitting. Thankfully, I avoid diaper duty.

So, in honor of my little niece, Gia, give T’s recipe for homemade ravioli a try.  You’ll have to make your own pasta dough, but I think that’s kind of fun to do on a chilly Sunday afternoon.

NOTE: this dough recipe is for most traditional pasta shapes, but you will need to double the amounts listed here to make ravioli.

BASIC PASTA DOUGH (Makes about 1 1/2 pounds pasta)
4C all-purpose flour
2t salt
3 large eggs
1/4C lukewarm water– approximate
1T olive oil

Place flour in a large bowl (or on a large flat surface) and make a well in the center.  Put all remaining ingredients into the well and start blending the flour into the egg mixture until all the flour is incorporated.  Gather dough together and place on lightly-floured large bread board.  Knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.  Cover the dough with the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.

MEAT FILLING
4T finely chopped onion
3T butter
3/4lb finely ground veal (or a mixture of beef and pork, for the non-veal eaters)
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch nutmeg
3 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt

Saute onion in butter until it is soft and translucent.  Add meat and cook, stirring until meat is no longer pink and liquid has evaporated from pan.  Transfer to mizing bowl and stir in spinach, cheese, nutmeg and eggs.  Season with salt to taste.

CHEESE FILLING
1C ricotta, well-drained
1/2C frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
2T grated onion
3 egg yolks
1T salt

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

TO ASSEMBLE RAVIOLI
Divide the dough ball into six equal parts (makes 50-60 ravioli, depending on their size). Roll out each of your six dough segments into paper-thin rectangles of equal size; cover the dough you’re not using with a damp cloth to prevent drying.  Lay out the first rectangle and place little mounds (about a teaspoon) of filling two inches apart in rows across the dough.  With a pastry brush dipped in water, draw straight lines between the mounds (this will act as a bond to seal ravioli).  Press a second dough rectangle over the top and down between the mounds to seal.  Use ravioli cutter (or pizza cutter, if that’s all you have) on pressed lines to separate ravioli.  Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Cook in salted boiling water for about eight minutes.

Phew!  You worked hard on these, so if you want to top with your favorite jarred sauce, I won’t tell anyone (recipe for Basic Tomato Sauce coming soon…).  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and don’t be surprised if your friends and family react like Gia does.

Who Likes Ravioli? from Katherine Roberts on Vimeo.
Mangia!