Spinach Artichoke Pasta

IMG_0921.jpg

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Welcome back to pasta month on Jennyblogs!

So far we’ve seen a Thai-inspired pasta, an Italian pasta, and today an American pasta. One of the biggest differences between these cuisines is the amount of cheese used. We Americans really like our cheese! Italian cuisine uses quite a bit of cheese in certain dishes, but it’s usually a seasoned, more pungent cheese (hello, beautiful parmigiano!) used as a finishing touch. Aside from pizza, of course, but even then, their pizzas or not nearly as cheese-blanketed as an American pizza can be!

From that you’ve learned that today’s pasta is going to be cheesy…even if you’ve already learned that my posts are usually cheesy….

You’ve heard of spinach and artichoke dip? That rich, creamy, decadent dip usually found at parties served with little pieces of toast? That one you say you aren’t going to eat because it’s so high-fat, but you just can’t help yourself and end up splurging anyway? Today we’re going to make a Spinach and Artichoke PASTA. As much as I love spinach and artichoke dip, I think this pasta is even better. Plus, there is no sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream cheese involved! It’s still cheesy of course, but you can largely control how much or how little cheese you add, and the same goes for the veggies, in particularly the spinach.

For as much as I love the precision and science behind baking, I’m really coming around to cooking and how versatile it can be!

I mentioned that this Spinach Artichoke Pasta is delicious, right? I made an 8x8in pan once for lunch and my husband and I ate the WHOLE THING in one sitting. I listed the servings as 3-4 for an 8x8in / 20x20cm pan, but don’t be surprised if it becomes only 2 servings! Especially if there are men or growing children involved. Or, just double the recipe and put it in a 9x13in / 23x33cm pan. Problem solved!

Short on time? You can make this ahead of time, store in the fridge, and broil the pasta about 10 minutes before serving, OR you can serve this straight out of the pan and skip the broiling. Sprinkle the cheese on top and voila, you just saved yourself a step.

Recipe adapted from Dam* Delicious (and yes, I just censored that.)


Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Serves 3-4

IMG_0913.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz / 250g (half package) penne or your choice of short pasta (my favorite are the shells for this!)

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 1/2 large onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 Tbsp / 15g all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup / 60g water, or chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 cup / 237g milk

  • about 5 oz / 150g fresh spinach, chopped

  • 7 oz / 200g frozen or canned cooked artichoke hearts, drained/thawed and chopped

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, or a few grates of fresh, if available

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • about 2 oz / 57g fontal or other semi-soft cheese, shredded

  • about 2 oz / 57g parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

Directions:

Ungreased 8x8in / 20x20cm pan, if you’re making this ahead of time (see step 8. and 9.)

IMG_0917.jpg
  1. Place a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook the pasta al dente according to directions on package; drain.

  2. While you’re boiling the water and cooking the pasta, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the onion is translucent and garlic fragrant.

  3. Add flour and stir, it will absorb all the liquid. Cook 1-2 minutes, until flour is toasted.

  4. Slowly add in the water, stirring constantly to make a thick paste (roux), then slowly stir in milk.

  5. Bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce; add spinach, artichokes, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until spinach has wilted and artichokes are heated through, about 2 minutes.

  6. Remove from heat and add a generous half of the fontal and generous half of the parmesan, stir until melted.

  7. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.

  8. If serving right away, spoon onto plates and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

  9. If serving later, transfer pasta to prepared baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and refrigerate. When ready to eat, place oven rack near top and broil pasta for a few minutes, or until cheese is melty and starts to turn golden.



Jenny’s Notes:

  • Instead of fresh spinach you can also use frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and chopped. Or you can use beet greens, arugula, or other cookable green of choice.

  • If you are watching your fat intake, feel free to reduce the cheese and use low-fat milk. On the other hand, if you love cheesy pasta and could care less about the fat, double the cheese!

  • Double this recipe and put in a 9x13in / 23x33cm pan!

  • If making ahead more than a few hours, I suggest boiling the pasta by 1-2 minutes less than indicated time, as it can become mushy sitting in the sauce. You may also need to add a bit more liquid (water, broth, or milk) to the sauce to compensate for the bit the pasta absorbs.

  • If you don’t know what to do with the other half can of artichokes, I suggest 1) making this dish twice within a few days, 2) doubling the recipe, or 3) using frozen artichokes or cooking them yourself so you don’t have to worry about the half can. I usually end up going for option 1, honestly, because making this once just isn’t enough.

American
Yield: 3-4 servings
Author:

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Pasta in a cheesy, creamy sauce with spinach and artichokes, playing off the flavors of the beloved spinach and artichoke dip.
prep time: 50 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 60 M

ingredients:

  • 4 oz / 250g (half package) penne or your choice of short pasta
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp / 15g all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup / 60g water, or chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup / 237g milk
  • about 5 oz / 150g fresh spinach, chopped
  • 7 oz / 200g frozen or canned cooked artichoke hearts, drained/thawed and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, or a few grates of fresh, if available
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • about 2 oz / 57g fontal or other semi-soft cheese, shredded
  • about 2 oz / 57g parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

instructions:

How to cook Spinach Artichoke Pasta

  1. Ungreased 8x8in / 20x20cm pan, if you’re making this ahead of time (see steps 9. and 10.)
  2. Place a large pot of water over high heat, adding salt just before it boils. Cook the pasta al dente according to directions on package; drain.
  3. While you’re boiling the water and cooking the pasta, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or so, until the onion is translucent and garlic fragrant.
  4. Add flour and stir, it will absorb all the liquid. Cook 1-2 minutes, until flour is toasted.
  5. Slowly add in the water, stirring constantly to make a thick paste (roux), then slowly stir in milk.
  6. Bring to a simmer to thicken the sauce; add spinach, artichokes, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until spinach has wilted and artichokes are heated through, about 2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add a generous half of the fontal and generous half of the parmesan, stir until melted.
  8. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.
  9. If serving right away, spoon onto plates and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  10. If serving later, transfer pasta to prepared baking dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and refrigerate. When ready to eat, place oven rack near top and broil pasta for a few minutes, or until cheese is melty and starts to turn golden.

NOTES:

Instead of fresh spinach you can also use frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, and chopped. Or you can use beet greens, arugula, or other cookable green of choice. If you are watching your fat intake, feel free to reduce the cheese and use low-fat milk. On the other hand, if you love cheesy pasta and could care less about the fat, double the cheese! Double this recipe and put in a 9x13in / 23x33cm pan! If making ahead more than a few hours, I suggest boiling the pasta by 1-2 minutes less than indicated time, as it can become mushy sitting in the sauce. You may also need to add a bit more liquid (water, broth, or milk) to the sauce to compensate for the bit the pasta absorbs. If you don’t know what to do with the other half can of artichokes, I suggest 1) making this dish twice within a few days, 2) doubling the recipe, or 3) using frozen artichokes or cooking them yourself so you don’t have to worry about the half can. I usually end up going for option 1, honestly, because making this once just isn’t enough.

Calories

488.68

Fat (grams)

23.74

Sat. Fat (grams)

8.73

Carbs (grams)

47.45

Fiber (grams)

6.94

Net carbs

40.51

Sugar (grams)

2.65

Protein (grams)

23.43

Sodium (milligrams)

668.13

Cholesterol (grams)

38.81
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 3 servings using water (not broth) and 2% milk.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Fresh Peach Cobbler

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I was really tempted to write, The BEST peach cobbler, because, I've never met a better one, but titles with such descriptives usually drive me away.  I try to call it like it is, and this is a peach cobbler, if I know anything. I get a bit tired of seeing THE BEST everything, ya know? Only one can be right, and the rest are...full of themselves? Fudging? Just trying to get more clicks? All of the above?  

However, in my opinion, this is the best.  Why?  Because it's my mom's peach cobbler.  If you have the privilege of knowing my mom, then I need go no further.  However, if you don't, all you need to know is, she's the greatest, and she knows her way around the kitchen.  I think mom's are born knowing stuff like this.  

Summer is all about picking the fresh produce, eating it, baking with it, and canning with it so you can enjoy the bounty of summer even in the winter months.  Of course, nothing beats fresh food, so I think making as many fruity and vegetable-y dishes as you and your family and friends and neighbors and dog and strangers walking by can eat.  

As it is now officially fall and the warm summer days are now tipped with the chilly mornings and evenings of the new season, I noticed that I have failed to take my own advice.  Yes, I've made fruit dishes throughout the summer, in fact, almost on the daily, but an actual peach dessert?  One of my favorite fresh fruits? Gasp.  Before the last leaf falls I must make a peach cobbler, at least one! Ok, so I probably made it and ate it before even the first leaf fell, but hey, sometimes you need that sense of emergency and adrenaline rush.  Um.  Before eating dessert.  (Does that burn more calories?) 

As a last adieu to summer, before the recipes start reflecting fall, here is the recipe for The. Best. Peach Cobbler.  In all its simplicity and flavors of summer.  

Recipe from my mama, who has made this since I can remember.


Peach Cobbler

Serves about 6 

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Ingredients:

  • 4 large ripe peaches

  • 1 1/4 cups / 250g sugar

  • 3 Tbsp / 42g oil

  • 1/2 cup / 119g milk

  • 1 cup / 120g all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp / 5g baking powder

  • dash of salt

  • 1 tsp / 3g cornstarch

  • 1 cup / 237g boiling water

Directions:

Oven 375°F / 190°C.     Ungreased 8x8in / 20x20cm baking dish.

Blanch the Peaches

IMG_4959.jpg
  1. To prepare the peaches, place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.  While you are waiting, place a large bowl of cold or ice water near the stove.  

  2. Once the water is boiling, carefully place all 4 peaches into the water and blanch them (cook briefly in boiling water) for about 2 minutes.  Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and immediately dunk in ice water to stop the cooking.  

  3. Your peaches are now ready to slice and peel.  Start by cutting the peaches in half with a paring knife and removing the pit.  Then peel the peaches using the knife or your hands.  The skins should slop off easily.  

  4. Slice peaches and place in bottom of prepared pan.  

Make the Cobbler

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil and  3/4 cup / 150g of the sugar.  Add milk, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well. Dollop the batter by spoonful over the peaches.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup / 100g sugar with cornstarch.  Sprinkle evenly over batter in the baking dish.  

  3. Finally, pour boiling water over top.  Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the sides are bubbling and the cobbler topping no longer looks doughy.  

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Jenny's Notes:

  • Serve this warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Also delicious for breakfast, with or without the ice cream.

  • This recipe is adapted for a 8x8in pan, perfect for a small crowd. Or 1 person. But this is easily doubled for a 9x13in, and then there's enough to go around. Yay! If doubling, blanch the peaches in two batches.

  • Skin not coming easily off your peaches? Could be they weren't quite ripe enough. If they're mushy, could be your peaches were overripe or blanched slightly too long.

  • Have a different favorite fruit? Go ahead and use it in place of the peaches! This cobbler is very versatile.

  • You can use butter in place of oil. I learned from my mom to often use oil in the place of butter simply because of the healthier mono and poly unsaturated fats, versus the mostly saturated fats in butter. Just be aware of what kind of oil you use if you decide to go the "healthier" route, as not all oils are made equally.

peach cobbler, recipe, fresh peaches, the best peach cobbler, summer dessert, how to make peach cobbler, old-fashioned cobbler
Dessert
American
Yield: 6 servings
Author:

Peach Cobbler

A classic summer dessert bursting with fresh peaches and topped with a soft and sugary-crusted cobbler topping, all with a hint of nutmeg.
prep time: 45 Mcook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 H & 45 M

ingredients:

  • 4 large ripe peaches
  • 1 1/4 cups / 250g sugar
  • 3 Tbsp / 42g oil
  • 1/2 cup / 119g milk
  • 1 cup / 120g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp / 5g baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp / 3g cornstarch
  • 1 cup / 237g boiling water

instructions:

How to cook Peach Cobbler

Blanch the Peaches
  1. To prepare the peaches, place a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. While you are waiting, place a large bowl of cold or ice water near the stove.
  2. Once the water is boiling, carefully place all 4 peaches into the water and blanch them (cook briefly in boiling water) for about 2 minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and immediately dunk in ice water to stop the cooking.
  3. Your peaches are now ready to slice and peel. Start by cutting the peaches in half with a paring knife and removing the pit. Then peel the peaches using the knife or your hands. The skins should slop off easily.
  4. Slice peaches and place in bottom of prepared pan.
Make the Cobbler
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil and 3/4 cup / 150g of the sugar. Add milk, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Dollop the batter by spoonful over the peaches.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup / 100g sugar with cornstarch. Sprinkle evenly over batter in the baking dish.
  3. Finally, pour boiling water over top. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the sides are bubbling and the cobbler topping no longer looks doughy.

NOTES:

Serve this warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Also delicious for breakfast, with or without the ice cream. This recipe is adapted for a 8x8in pan, perfect for a small crowd. Or 1 person. But this is easily doubled for a 9x13in, and then there's enough to go around. Yay! If doubling, blanch the peaches in two batches. Skin not coming easily off your peaches? Could be they weren't quite ripe enough. If they're mushy, could be your peaches were overripe or blanched slightly too long. Have a different favorite fruit? Go ahead and use it in place of the peaches! This cobbler is very versatile. You can use butter in place of oil. I learned from my mom to often use oil in the place of butter simply because of the healthier mono and poly unsaturated fats, versus the mostly saturated fats in butter. Just be aware of what kind of oil you use if you decide to go the "healthier" route, as not all oils are made equally.

Calories

352.11

Fat (grams)

7.68

Sat. Fat (grams)

0.63

Carbs (grams)

69.73

Fiber (grams)

2.30

Net carbs

67.43

Sugar (grams)

52.46

Protein (grams)

3.80

Sodium (milligrams)

125.34

Cholesterol (grams)

0.99
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 6 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_4952.jpg

Ok, so let's see if you've learned your lesson for today.  What two things do you need to know about my mom?  ;)  

Very good.  

Tourte Milanese

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Tourte Milanese, also known as Tourte Milanaise.  No, the second version does not include mayonnaise.  Part of the family en croute, or encased in dough.  Who doesn't want to eat food, soup, and anything edible wrapped in flaky, buttery dough?  In this case, roasted peppers, herbed scrambled eggs, cheese, spinach, and meat.  

You will feel quite accomplished pulling this out of the oven, and taking your first bite into the explosion of hot, flaky layers, melty cheese, herbs, sweet peppers, smoky meat, and garlicky spinach.  It may look intimidating, but you can adjust this recipe to how much time and effort you want to put into it.  For example, you can make your own puff pastry, or you can pick it up at the store.  You could roast your own peppers, or buy a jar of already roasted peppers.  Of course, I enjoy making everything as home-made and from scratch as possible...clearly don't have kids yet.  I recommend reading through the recipe once or twice and taking a peek at my notes at the bottom to make your game plan.  For example, puff pastry can easily be a two day recipe, so you'll want to make that a day ahead, or way ahead, and freeze it until you have the urge to make a recipe like this.  

Want some inspiration?  Watch this fun video of Julia Child and Michel Richard making Puff Pastry and Tourte Milanese!


Tourte Milanese

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

For the Crust

  • 1 lb. / 450g puff pastry, home-made or store bought

  • Egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water

For the Eggs

  • 10 eggs

  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or green onion

  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or basil

  • 2 tsp snipped fresh tarragon or fresh or dried oregano

  • salt and ground pepper, to taste

  • 3 Tbsp / 42g butter

For the Rest of the Filling

  • 6 large red bell peppers (or use a 16oz jar or two of roasted red peppers)

  • 1 1/2 lbs / 680g spinach

  • 1 Tbsp / 14g olive oil

  • 1 Tbsp / 14g butter

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

  • 8 oz / 225g Swiss cheese

  • 8 oz / 225g smoked turkey or ham

Directions:

Generously grease an 8in / 20cm springform pan.  

Make the Crust

  1. Cut off 1/4 of the puff pastry, cover, and set aside.  

  2. Roll out the remaining pastry to 1/4" thick round.  Be sure to roll it thin enough so it will have a chance to be baked all the way through in the oven.  It should be big enough to cover the bottom and sides of your springform pan with an overhang.  Carefully press into pan, being sure to press all the way into the corners.  Cover and refrigerate.

  3. Roll out the remaining 1/4 of puff pastry until it is 1/4" thick.  Cut out an 8 in / 20cm circle, using an 8 in / 20cm pie plate or cake tin as a template.  Place on a plate or baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate.  

Make the Eggs

  1. Whisk eggs, herbs, salt and pepper together.  Melt butter in a skillet over low heat and pour in eggs.  Gently stir, continuously moving the setting eggs towards the center and allowing runny eggs to reach the bottom of the pan.  When the whole mixture has started to thicken, but still a bit runny, remove from heat and pour onto a plate. Cover and refrigerate and until ready to use.  

Roast the Peppers

Skip this step if you bought roasted red peppers.  

Method 1: Place peppers over an open flame on your stove top until blackened.  Flip and allow second side to roast.  Repeat until all peppers have been roasted.  

Method 2: Place all peppers onto a tinfoil lined sheet pan.  Place under broiler in your oven, checking every few minutes, until peppers are blackened.  Turn peppers over and roast second side.  

Once peppers have been roasted, place in an airtight container or ziploc bag for about 20 minutes to steam.  

Remove peppers and rub the skin off.  Cut out the stems and slice from top to bottom, laying them flat.  Remove seeds and trim away any inside veins.  

Place peppers on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess liquid, cover, and refrigerate.  

Blanch and Sauté the Spinach

  1. Bring a large amount of salted water to a boil.  Add spinach and blanch for 1 minute.  Drain in a colander and rinse in cold water to stop it from cooking.  Press the spinach to remove excess liquid.  

  2. Place oil, butter, and garlic in a large frying pan over medium heat.  When garlic starts to sizzle, add blanched spinach and sauté for 3 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Remove from heat and transfer spinach to a plate lined with paper towels.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.  

Assemble the Tourte

Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.  

Remove the pastry lined pan from the fridge, along with your eggs, peppers, spinach, cheese, and turkey/ham.  Layer your ingredients in this order, laying them flat and spreading to the edge:

  1. Half of eggs

  2. Half of spinach

  3. Half of turkey/ham

  4. Half of cheese

  5. All the peppers

  6. Other half of cheese

  7. Other half of turkey/ham

  8. Other half of spinach

  9. Other half of eggs

Trim the pastry overhang to within 1 in / 2.5cm of the pan.  Brush the inner side with egg wash and fold over filling.  Brush the other side with more egg wash. 

Remove the round pastry top from fridge, re-rolling if it has shrunk any.  Place over the folded edges of the tourte, pressing down to seal it.  Brush with more egg wash.  Cut a vent in the center of the dough, or use a knife to trace a design.  Or, you can cut out shapes form the puff pastry scraps and decorate the top.  Brush shapes with more egg wash.  Chill assembled tourte in fridge for 30 minutes prior to baking.  

Place tourte on a tinfoil lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and a deep golden brown.  

Cool for 30 minutes before releasing from pan and serving.

Can be assembled a day ahead.  Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.  To reheat, place in an oven preheated to 350°F / 177°C for 20-30 minutes. 

Jenny's Notes:

The recipe above is pretty traditional, however, it can easily be adjusted to your tastes.  

No soggy bottoms here!

No soggy bottoms here!

  • Before layering in the filling, I suggest sprinkling the bottom with a grated hard cheese, such as parmesan, or bread crumbs, to avoid the soggy-bottom syndrome. I did a combo of cheese and bread crumbs.

  • For the herbed scrambled eggs, chives, parsley, and tarragon combo is more traditional, but I prefer green onion, basil, and oregano. To be completely honest I've never had tarragon, but from what I've read I can't say I have a real desire to.

  • Feel free to use whichever color peppers you like! I roasted multi-colored mini sweet peppers. The white from the eggs (ish), green from the spinach, and red from the peppers is supposed to resemble the colors of the Italian flag, but hey. I'm just making Italy more colorful than it already it is.

  • 1 1/2 lbs of spinach may seem outrageous, but it really cooks down. I have used a scant pound before when that’s all I had, but the spinach is surprisingly delicious and I wouldn’t modify the recipe down if I had a choice.

  • Play around with cheeses! You'll want softer cheeses, ones that melt well. Think cheddar, gruyere, havarti, gouda, brie...I opted for half Swiss and half dill havarti. Two beautiful melting cheeses.

  • I pulled the tourte out of the oven after 1 hour 10 minutes, but it could have used more time to bake the pastry all the way through. It can be difficult to tell as your only clue is the color of the pastry.

Tourte Milanese, Julia Child, Michel Richard, spinach, roasted red peppers, en croute, scrambled eggs, cheese, puff pastry,turkey, Italian flag
breakfast, dinner
Italian, French
Yield: 8-12 Servings
Author:

Tourte Milanese

Layers of turkey, cheese, spinach, roasted red peppers, and eggs encased in flaky puff pastry.
prep time: 1 H & 35 Mcook time: 1 H & 30 Mtotal time: 2 H & 65 M

ingredients:

For the Crust
  • 1 lb. / 450g puff pastry, home-made or store bought
  • Egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
For the Eggs
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or green onion
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • 2 tsp snipped fresh tarragon or fresh or dried oregano
  • salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp / 42g butter
For the Rest of the Filling
  • 6 large red bell peppers (or a 16oz jar or two of roasted red peppers)
  • 1 1/2 lbs / 680g spinach
  • 1 Tbsp / 14g olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp / 14g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 8 oz / 225g Swiss cheese
  • 8 oz / 225g smoked turkey or ham

instructions:

How to cook Tourte Milanese

Make the Crust
  1. Generously grease an 8in / 20cm springform pan.
  2. Cut off 1/4 of the puff pastry, cover, and set aside.
  3. Roll out the remaining pastry to 1/4" thick round. Be sure to roll it thin enough so it will have a chance to be baked all the way through in the oven. It should be big enough to cover the bottom and sides of your springform pan with an overhang. Carefully press into pan, being sure to press all the way into the corners. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Roll out the remaining 1/4 of puff pastry until it is 1/4" thick. Cut out an 8 in / 20cm circle, using an 8 in / 20cm pie plate or cake tin as a template. Place on a plate or baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate.
Make the Eggs
  1. Whisk eggs, herbs, salt and pepper together. Melt butter in a skillet over low heat and pour in eggs. Gently stir, continuously moving the setting eggs towards the center and allowing runny eggs to reach the bottom of the pan. When the whole mixture has started to thicken, but still a bit runny, remove from heat and pour onto a plate. Cover and refrigerate and until ready to use.
Roast the Peppers
  1. Skip this step if you bought roasted red peppers.
  2. Method 1: Place peppers over an open flame on your stove top until blackened. Flip and allow second side to roast. Repeat until all peppers have been roasted.
  3. Method 2: Place all peppers onto a tinfoil lined sheet pan. Place under broiler in your oven, checking every few minutes, until peppers are blackened. Turn peppers over and roast second side.
  4. Once peppers have been roasted, place in an airtight container or ziploc bag for about 20 minutes to steam.
  5. Remove peppers and rub the skin off. Cut out the stems and slice from top to bottom, laying them flat. Remove seeds and trim away any inside veins.
  6. Place peppers on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess liquid, cover, and refrigerate.
Blanch and Sauté the Spinach
  1. Bring a large amount of salted water to a boil. Add spinach and blanch for 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse in cold water to stop it from cooking. Press the spinach to remove excess liquid.
  2. Place oil, butter, and garlic in a large frying pan over medium heat. When garlic starts to sizzle, add blanched spinach and sauté for 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat and transfer spinach to a plate lined with paper towels. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Assemble the Tourte
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 177°C.
  2. Remove the pastry lined pan from the fridge, along with your eggs, peppers, spinach, cheese, and turkey/ham. Layer your ingredients in this order, laying them flat and spreading to the edge:
  3. Half of eggs
  4. Half of spinach
  5. Half of turkey/ham
  6. Half of cheese
  7. All the peppers
  8. Other half of cheese
  9. Other half of turkey/ham
  10. Other half of spinach
  11. Other half of eggs
  12. Trim the pastry overhang to within 1 in / 2.5cm of the pan. Brush the inner side with egg wash and fold over filling. Brush the other side with more egg wash.
  13. Remove the round pastry top from fridge, re-rolling if it has shrunk any. Place over the folded edges of the tourte, pressing down to seal it. Brush with more egg wash. Cut a vent in the center of the dough, or use a knife to trace a design. Or, you can cut out shapes form the puff pastry scraps and decorate the top. Brush shapes with more egg wash. Chill assembled tourte in fridge for 30 minutes prior to baking.
  14. Place tourte on a tinfoil lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes - 1 hour 30 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and a deep golden brown.
  15. Cool for 30 minutes before releasing from pan and serving.
  16. Can be assembled a day ahead. Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. To reheat, place in an oven preheated to 350°F / 177°C for 20-30 minutes.

NOTES:

Before layering in the filling, I suggest sprinkling the bottom with a grated hard cheese, such as parmesan, or bread crumbs, to avoid the soggy-bottom syndrome. I did a combo of cheese and bread crumbs. For the herbed scrambled eggs, chives, parsley, and tarragon combo is more traditional, but I prefer green onion, basil, and oregano. To be completely honest I've never had tarragon, but from what I've read I can't say I have a real desire to. Feel free to use whichever color peppers you like! I roasted multi-colored mini sweet peppers. The white from the eggs (ish), green from the spinach, and red from the peppers is supposed to resemble the colors of the Italian flag, but hey. I'm just making Italy more colorful than it already it is. 1 1/2 lbs of spinach may seem like a lot, but it really cooks down. Play around with cheeses! You'll want softer cheeses, ones that melt well. Think cheddar, gruyere, havarti, gouda, brie...I opted for half Swiss and half dill havarti. Two beautiful melting cheeses. I pulled the tourte from the oven after 1 hour 10 minutes, but it could have used more time to bake the pastry all the way through. It can be difficult to tell as your only clue is the color of the pastry.

Calories

653.54

Fat (grams)

44.19

Sat. Fat (grams)

13.43

Carbs (grams)

38.20

Fiber (grams)

4.08

Net carbs

34.12

Sugar (grams)

5.94

Protein (grams)

27.68

Sodium (milligrams)

762.57

Cholesterol (grams)

308.66
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 8 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Ever heard of Whole30?  Me neither, up until last year.  Actually, New Year's Eve.  (Yes, only 2 weeks ago.  I know I know, those "last year" jokes are so old, but I still get SO much entertainment out of them.  Too much.)  Anyway, I read about the Whole30 in an email from this informative and entertaining fitness site called Greatist.   Like all normal people, my first thought when I see things like ice cream and strange diets is to say, "I WANT TO BE A PART OF THAT."  Actually, I prefer the ice cream to be a part of me, meaning I ate it. 

I am not normally a spontaneous person by any means, but two days later I had commenced my very own Whole30January.  Without even reading all the way through the guidelines.  It's almost easier to list what you can eat than what you can't.  But I'll start with what you can't, just because it's fun and I like to complain about it.  It's not even all that hard.  Especially with a buddy.  Just ask my Mom, she just loves doing this with me.

Not allowed:

  1. grain (not even quinoa)
  2. dairy (guess that ice cream is not going to become a part of me after all)
  3. sugar (say no to stevia)
  4. soy (watch out for sneaky ingredients like soy lecithin)
  5. alcohol
  6. legumes (think beans and peanuts)
  7. sketchy preservatives like carageenan

That leaves you with veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts, meat, and all the sadness you want.  But you may not take any of those approved items and combine them to create something in the "cheat" category.  For example, you cannot combine eggs and bananas and pour it onto a griddle because that would be a pancake.  The goal is to break you of an unhealthy relationships with food.  So instead of replacing everything you normally eat with healthier versions (because at the end of the 30 days you will most likely go back to the exact same way you ate before, and then nothing has changed) the goal is to explore and create new delicious and nutritious (and sad) food.  Ha ok I'm done being sardonic.  If you want to read more about Whole30, click here.  

So in the midst of these January blues and food sadness, I will share with you this recipe for pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread so you can eat it in my stead.  While you're at it, would you also eat some cheese and every other kind of bread that exists for me?  Thanks. 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Ingredients:

For the Bread

  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water, 110 degrees
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm milk, 110 degrees
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Cinnamon Swirl

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Make the Bread

Oven 375 Fahrenheit.  Grease a bread pan, approximately 9.5x5.5 inches.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, water, and 1/2 tsp of sugar.  Allow to sit until yeast starts to bubble, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the milk, molasses, remaining sugar, salt, oil, nutmeg, ginger, egg, and pumpkin until combined. 

Switch to a dough hook and slowly add flour.  Continue adding flour until a soft, but not too sticky dough is achieved. 

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured and knead for 1-2 minutes. 

Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 

While the bread is rising, whisk together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Set aside.

When the bread is doubled in size, punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll out into a rectangle, about 22x8 inches. 

Spread the melted butter over dough, going within 1/2 inch of the edge.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over butter.

Starting from a short side (the approximate 8 incher) roll dough into a loaf.  Place in prepared loaf pan seam side down. 

Cover with a towel and let rise again until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. 

Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow to the tap and an internal temperature reaches about 190 Fahrenheit. 

Jenny's Notes:

This bread is delicious toasted!  And if you're really a pumpkin fan, might I mention pumpkin butter?

What lurks in the darkness...

What lurks in the darkness...

 

 

 

Pumpkin Coconut Bars

One week until Thanksgiving!  'Tis the season for baking too much, cooking too much, and eating too much.  But sometimes you don't want to wait until Thanksgiving for a slice of pumpkin pie, yet you don't want to ruin it, or sometimes you just want something of a lighter nature that you can feel good about eating.  The upcoming season of delicious foods and feasting does not mean that you should be eating plain lettuce, carrot sticks, and rutabaga all day to "save up" for the holidays.  In fact, if it's not delicious, then you shouldn't eat it.  I believe food is a good gift and should always be enjoyed, and never suffered through.  If it's not delicious, then something isn't being done right.  Nutritious can be delicious.  But delicious does not always have to be nutritious.  Everything in moderation.  Do you follow me?  Well, never mind.  Now for something that falls into the three most important categories: Delicious, Nutritious, AND Festive. 

Pumpkin Coconut Energy Bars

Makes 8-10 Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pitted dates

  • 1/2 cup nuts of choice, raw or unsalted

  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds or chia seeds

  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut

  • 1/4 cup oats

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp cloves

  • 1/4 tsp ginger

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend for several minutes, until slightly chunky or completely smooth, as you wish.

Line an 8x8 in baking dish with parchment paper.  Lightly sprinkle with oats or coconut to prevent mixture from sticking too much.

Scoop mixture into dish and carefully spread to the edges.  Use lightly oiled or wet hands to help this process.  Sprinkle with more coconut, pumpkin seeds, or both.

Place in the freezer for a couple hours, then slice into bars.  Store in at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer, depending on how firm you want the bars to be. 

Jenny's Notes:

I used a combination of almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts.  Why use only 1 or 2 varieties of nuts when you can use 5??

Homemade Eggnog

Do you know what 2 weeks from today is?  Yes, Thanksgiving!  A big feast requires lots of food, lots of planning, and of course lots of shopping, preparing, and cooking.  There are of course all the traditional dishes to make, but sometimes you want to throw in something new and delicious.  Since many of you, my smart friends, break out the eggnog for the first time on Thanksgiving, why not try making it homemade this year?  No high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor, or "Holly"-ness about it.  (I still am not sure I know the difference between store-bought Hollynog and Eggnog?)  It's very simple to make, and can easily be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled (Hello, Morris family) to fit your needs.  'Tis the season to be jolly, not drink Hollynog.  

Homemade Eggnog

Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling

  • 4 cups milk

  • 4 oz. (1/4 cup) brandy, bourbon, or rum, optional

Directions: 

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until light in color and the sugar has dissolved.  Whisk in vanilla, nutmeg, milk, and alcohol.  Strain into a pitcher or serving dish of choice and chill until ready to serve.  Sprinkle with additional nutmeg. 

Halve, double, or triple this recipe as needed.

Jenny's Notes:

So easy and delicious!  If you are worried about the raw eggs in this, simply use pasteurized eggs.  I am fortunate enough to be able to us eggs straight from chickens I know and trust. 

If you are serving this to children and/or people who don't drink, obviously don't add any alcohol.  What I like to do is add the alcohol to only half so everyone is happy, or let people add their own.  But not the children.

Serve in a punch bowl with dollops of vanilla ice cream for an extra decadent treat!