Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Eating Fall: Spinach and Ricotta Pie


This delicious pie resulted from my over buying fresh ricotta at our farmers Market this past weekend. If you love good quality ricotta you know it doesn't hang around for long and wasting food puts me into a total tizzy!  

We had sweets in the house and a cheesecake just wasn't doing it.  I didn't have all of the ingredients for lasagna. Plus I wanted something easy for a Monday dinner.

A few minutes on the internet led me to this recipe, which is truly cobbled together from many I read. Frankly I think it's probably better than some of them! 

I had all of the ingredients already - either in the refrigerator or down in the big freezer. That's my kind of recipe.

It's easy and very good - it was great for dinner but it could definitely work for lunch with a quick warm up and I have it on good information that it's great for breakfast.  I had to be sure you know!  OK here we go.

Spinach, Ricotta, Bacon, Leek & Mushroom Pie


Three large eggs
24 ounces (or so) of fresh ricotta cheese - if it's really wet, drain it in a sieve or colander for 20 minutes or so.
10 - 12 ounces of uncooked spinach - I had a big bag (2 pounds) of fresh spinach in the freezer.  A local grower is experimenting with "flash freezing" it. Makes it easy to take some but not all out of the bag. I hope he keeps doing it.

One cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Six or seven strips of regular bacon
One large leek, cleaned, and chopped
Two garlic cloves, sliced
Approximately a quarter pound of mushrooms chopped just a bit.  I had some mixed mushrooms - use whatever you like or none at all.  They aren't critical.

One pie crust - now you have heard me say that I keep Pillsbury ready made pie crusts in the freezer for just this sort of occasion.  Or you can use your own pie crust recipe.  Homemade would make this even better and I promise that I will use a homemade crust for it, just not on a Monday night!


Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

Lightly butter a pie plate - I like a glass pie plate for these sorts of recipes, you need a little depth.

Put your crust into your pie plate.

"Dock" the crust a bit - just make a few holes in it with a fork.
Put it in the oven for about 5 minutes.  You just want to get it started a bit. Take it out when it just starts to change color.

If your spinach is frozen, let it defrost.  To quick defrost it, put it in a colander and pour a little hot water over it. If it's not frozen, just be sure it's clean of sand. 

In a sauté pan, cook the bacon to almost crispy - it will cook a bit more in the pie.  Set it aside draining on paper towels. When it's cooled, chop it.

Cook the chopped leeks in the bacon fat; as they begin to soften, add the garlic.
In about one minute, add the mushrooms if you are using them.  Let the mushrooms get a little browned.  At this point you can add a dried herb for a bit of zing.  I added some of our dried thyme because I was using mushrooms.  Mushrooms and thyme love each other. 

Add a light sprinkle of salt and a good bit of freshly ground pepper to the mixture

Take the sauté pan off the heat and when it cools a bit add the chopped bacon, stir well to incorporate.

Beat the three eggs in a large bowl.  Add the ricotta and the Parmesan and keep whisking to incorporate the eggs into the cheeses.

Swutch to a large spoon or spatula and add the spinach to the egg & cheese mixture - mix it together well.

Then add everything from the sauté pan into the spinach mixture. Again - take the time to mix it well.

Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 40 - 45 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, let it rest for ten minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!

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