Pharm to Table – Bringing Organic Chemistry to the Kitchen
A friend asked me, “If you had to give up either cheese or chocolate the rest of your life, which would it be?” I thought for a second. Chocolate. Now mind you, I really like chocolate, preferably dark chocolate. There are, however, other desserts out there that can satisfy my sweet tooth. On the other hand, there are no substitutes for the glorious flavor that cheese brings to dishes, or simply on its own.
If you noticed there has been a reoccurring ingredient in the previous recipes published in the DNN Tribune, parmesan reggiano. It is one of my favorite cheeses and shares some similarities to one of my favorite Kermit and Friends and Blab chatters, Reggie. Both Reggie and the delicacy are aged to perfection, nutty, salty, savory, and make everything better. There has not been a chat where Reggie has not made me smile just like I do when biting into a homemade parmesan crisp. Most top quality parmesan is aged for 24 months for full development of its flavor potential. I expect we have not seen the best of Reggie as well.
9-10 oz pre-washed, bagged baby spinach
1 oz pine nuts
8 oz ricotta
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup ground almonds
½ – ¾ cup grated Parmesan “Reggie”ano cheese
1 box puff pastry (2 sheets), defrosted if frozen
1 egg, beaten
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a sauté pan on medium high heat. Place spinach leaves in pan and cook until wilted. Drain thoroughly. When spinach is cool, squeeze out all excess liquid.
Place pine nuts on a cookie sheet and toast under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Watch closely because they have a tendency to burn. You want a light, golden brown color.
Mix ricotta, spinach, and 2 beaten eggs in a medium size bowl. Add the toasted pine nuts, ground almonds, and Parmesan cheese.
Roll out the puff pastry on a well-floured surface. Will need a rectangular shape with about 8.5 inches on the longest side. Cut the excess puff pastry and reserve.
Place first pastry rectangle on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone cooking sheet or parchment paper. Spoon over the spinach mixture, keeping a ¾ inch border edge of pastry. Brush the edge with the beaten egg. Place the second pastry rectangle on top. Seal edges by rolling together or simply pressing closed. Brush the top of the pie with egg wash.
With the excess pastry trimmings design the top. Today I made a leaf design. Oh, and a personalized one for Douche! Brush the design with egg wash as well.
Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes.