During my internship in Harlem this past summer, I stayed with my aunt Marcia — an absolutely wonderful, spectacular, beyond-amazing cook. When she told me I could easily make my favorite meal that we had at the house over the summer, I laughed. And then I laughed some more. Me — making a quiche? Uhhhh no.
But my desire to
inhale enjoy a slice of Ricotta Spinach Pie became insatiable. When Marcia Facebooked me one day, telling me she was “enjoying ricotta spinach pie and thinking of me,” I grew angry. I was getting hostile. Things in my way? I began throwing them, breaking windows and smashing in doors. Okay, this is a slight huge exaggeration. I did none of these things. Just wanted to make it clear that I was seerrriously craving this delish dish.
Since I had always been on my after-work run when Marcia prepared dinner, I never actually believed her when she told me how easy it was. When I looked up the recipe on epicurious’s website, I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it is. Just do some chopping, shredding, crack some eggs, combine it all, put in an already prepared pie shell. Like? LOVE!
Ricotta Spinach Pie* (very much like a quiche – but with a few less eggs and a bit more cheese) (courtesy of epicurious.com, from Bon Appetit magazine’s March 1996 issue)
- 1 refrigerated pie crust
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
- 8 ounce mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unfold pie crust. Press out fold lines and sprinkle the flour over crust. Place crust floured side down in 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold edges under and crimp decoratively.
Combine ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses in large bowl. (I have heard from numerous people – including Giada on Food Network – NOT to use reduced-fat ricotta cheese because the texture in the recipe won’t turn out the same. But, feel free to experiment!)
Mix in eggs.
Add the spinach mixture; blend well. Spoon cheese mixture into pie crust. Bake until filling is set in center and brown on top, about 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then cut pie into wedges. (Makes 6 servings.)
If you’ve never tried a quiche before, or have been too scared to get in the kitchen and make one yourself, this is a great first recipe to try — my family thoroughly enjoyed it (especially my Dad — who I think was rather skeptical from the get-go). It tasted just like it did in the summer, and brought back all those wonderful memories from my summer in the city. The blend of the 3 cheeses is insane: the sweetness from the ricotta cheese, the slight sweetness and vague buttery-taste from the paremsan, and the moist, non-overpowering qualities of the mozzarella coalesce into a rich-tasting combination of flavors.
While this recipe is heavy in cheese, it helps that it only has a bottom crust (as opposed to a top one as well, which increases the calories and fat). If you choose to do so, you can omit the bottom crust, or you can substitute the pie crust with something else of your choosing (one of the recipe reviewers said she used a tube of crescent rolls!). Regardless of the cheese content, the cheese is good for you – providing a whole host of nutrients, most importantly the calcium we all need that I often neglect in my diet.
Ricotta – a good source of protein to help build muscle (just 1/2 cup has 14 g, 28% of the RDA); great source of phosphorous (growth, maintenance, and cell repair), zinc (supports growth and development and is required to properly taste and smell different things…so you can truly enjoy and experience what you’re eating!), and selenium (involved with antioxidant systems to help reduce cell damage from those nasty free radicals).
Parmesan – A good source of phosphorous, protein, and calcium (build those bones, baby!). Not only is 99% of your calcium stored in your bones, but calcium is also important for the proper functioning of your heart, muscles, and nerves. Hellloooo, healthy body! 🙂
Mozzarella – A good source of calcium and phosphorous, and also low in sugar.
Though there are clear benefits from cheese in your diet, remember that they are often high in fat (sometimes saturated). So, just use them sparingly and in moderation. Obviously you wouldn’t have this quiche allll the time, but every once in a while, it’s a great way to get in a whole host of calcium and vital nutrients your body needs and is probably craving. You can even tweak the recipe a bit: next time, I plan to add some more veggies – like broccoli and sundried tomatoes, and maybe even decorate the top of the quiche with big, juicy tomato slices. In the oven so they get all warm and tender? Ahhh!!!! Can’t wait. The only thing I would change next time (beyond experimenting with different ingredients) is possibly baking the pie crust a little bit before I put it all in the oven together. The crust was a tad bit soft and soggy; didn’t really bother me, but I think it could even be better next time if I baked it first. Oops! I forgot to mention how good-for-you spinach is: when I looked on Self magazine’s nutrition data portion of its website, this is what I found:
The good: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
Do you need any more convincing from me that spinach is a nutritional powerhouse? Perhaps that’s why Popeye liked it so much (he was smarter than the average person, I tell ya!).
Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2627/2#ixzz1AH61Jzzb
Oh, the title of this post? That’s a nod to this guy 🙂