giovedì 6 agosto 2009

Spinach and ricotta vol au vent

When I told my Irish friends that I had started a blog of recipes, they almost chocked on the dinner I made for them and said:
'You are keeping a food blog in a misterious language we cannot understand??'

And so here we go, my first entry in English, to demisify the misteries of Italian!
I have chosen the Spinach and ricotta vol au vant, an easy recipe for lazy nights.

10 medium size pastry cases (I use the frozen ones)
125 gr. ricotta
3 handfuls of Spinach: not baby leaves, normal big leafed spinach
Grated Nutmeg
Parmesan cheese
1 egg (optional)

Start off pre-heating the oven to 175C degrees. Put the pastry cases, still frozen, on tinfoil and put them in.

While they cook, boil the Spinach in hot salted water: I don't like to overcook my spinach, so I let them boil until they get dark and soft, but I take them off the heat before they start melting away in the water. When ready, I drain them very well - this is probably the most imoprtant passage: spinach load up a lot of water and if you do'nt drain them enough you'll have a soup more than a filling - and then I place them in a food porcessor with the ricotta, the salt, the parmesan and the nutmeg and mix. I end up with a very smooth cream: taste now to adjust seasoning. I like my filling very smooth, but if you prefer it more solid, you can add one egg.

Check on your pastry cases: depending on your oven by the time the spinach are ready they should have started to grow and they shoud be getting golden. As soon as they do that, take them off the oven, spoon in the spinach and ricotta cream and place them back in the oven. Consider that the pastry cases will grow come more while cooking, so be generous with your filling or you'll find you vol au vant half empty. Check your pastryu cases after few minutes: tehy are ready as soon as they look golden and crispy.
Tip: take them out of the oven as soon as the turn golden or you'll end up with very dry vol au vant!

Enjoy hot or at room temperature, I suggest, accompanied by a chilled beer.

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