Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pasta with Creamy Spinach Rosemary and White Bean Sauce

Ah, spinach.  Available from local farms at almost any time of year now, and one of my go-to veggies at the point when I'm just tired of root vegetables but spring crops are not quite ready yet.  Also: versatile, nutritious, delicious.

1 lb pasta
1/2 lb spinach, washed
Olive oil
1 large shallot or small onion
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
1/2 cup cream
4-6 slices cooked bacon, chopped

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling.  While it cooks, prepare the sauce.

Lightly steam the spinach (I do this in a covered bowl in the microwave, about 1 minute on high).

Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan or small frying pan.  Add the shallots and rosemary and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add the white beans until heated through.

Puree the spinach with the shallot and bean mixture until smooth, then return to the saucepan.  Stir in the cream and bacon.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and toss with the sauce.

Serves 4-6.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spinach Chorizo Risotto

Yes, I know chorizo is not Italian, but with this set of ingredients you really can't go wrong.  Use the smaller amounts of spinach and chorizo for a more rice-heavy risotto, the larger amounts for a risotto that is about equal parts rice and other stuff.

You can chop the spinach in a food processor with a few pulses, though you'll have to do it in batches and be careful not to turn it into puree.

Olive oil
1 large shallot or small onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 - 1 lb chorizo sausage (sliced in rounds or casings removed and sausage crumbled)
1/4 - 1/2 lb spinach, stemmed, washed and finely chopped

Heat a little olive oil in a pressure cooker.  Add the shallot or onion and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the rice and saute for 1 minute or so, until it turns translucent.  Add the chicken stock and stir well.  Cover the cooker and bring to pressure.  Once it reaches pressure, cook for 7 minutes, then remove from heat and release steam.  Open the cooker and stir the rice.  If liquid remains, simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until it is absorbed.

While the rice cooks in the pressure cooker, cook the sausage.  When the rice is done, stir in the cooked chorizo and the raw chopped spinach until well combined.  Serve hot.

Serves 4-5.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Southwestern Spinach Pizza

Nice and green with a little tang and spice.  Don't skip the pickled peppers unless you really can't stand the heat - they are really good here.

To quickly steam spinach for an application like this, I rinse it well and put in a large microwaveable bowl with a plate covering and cook for 1-2 minutes on high.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
2-3 oz. shredded mozzarella
1/4 lb spinach, stemmed and lightly steamed
1/4 cup salsa (spiciness to your taste)
2-3 Tbsp sliced pickled hot peppers
2 oz. sharp cheddar, in small cubes or slices

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Spread the mozzarella over the pizza crust, then top with the spinach.  Dab with salsa and sprinkle with hot peppers and cheddar.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.