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Posts Tagged ‘Ricotta’

Cheesy Ham Hock, Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne

This is a nice crowd pleaser and kept us entertained for a while on a miserable day in Dublin. You can buy shredded ham hock in supermarkets now which makes this a great prep-ahead lunch for friends.

Wine Suggestion: Tonights choice to match the dish was provided by a friend, the Chateau La Bienveillance Sémillon 2019, a delightful and easy white which had a little texture and freshness to balance the cheese, plus a little earthiness which went well with spinach. If you can’t find Semillon then Chenin Blanc will work as well.

Cheesy ham hock, spinach & ricotta lasagne – serves 6

  • 70g butter
  • 70g plain flour
  • 1 litre full-fat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 80g grated Parmesan or Gruyère (we had both in the fridge so used a mixture)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 600g spinach (the big-leafed stuff works best here)
  • 250g ricotta
  • a grating of nutmeg
  • 300g shredded ham hock (if you can’t find ham hock you can use shred thick-cut ham)
  • 12 dried lasagne sheets
  • 50g grated mozzarella

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk (you can use a whisk if you want but I prefer to use a wooden spoon). Add the bay leaf then put back over the heat and bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring continuously until thickened. Take off the heat again and stir in 50g of the Parmesan/Gruyère, the mustard and the cayenne pepper. Season.

Put the spinach into a large pan with a small amount of boiling water, about 100ml. Cover with a lid and simmer for a few minutes until wilted, careful it doesn’t boil dry. Drain in a colander, then leave to cool. When cool enough to handle put the spinach into a clean tea towel and squeeze out the water. Tip the spinach into a food processor and pulse to roughly chop. Add the ricotta and pulse again to combine. Grate in a little nutmeg and season.

Heat the oven to 200C/180 fan/gas 6.

Spoon a layer of the cheese sauce into the bottom of a lasagne dish (roughly 24x28cm). Remove the bay leaf when you come across it. Top with a third of the spinach and ricotta mixture, then a third of the ham hock. Cover with a single layer of lasagne sheets, snapping them to make them fit if necessary. Repeat the layers with the rest of the ingredients and finish with a layer of lasagne sheets and cheese sauce. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan/Gruyère and the grated mozzarella. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until browned and bubbling (keep an eye on it and if it is browning too much you can cover with foil).

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Broad Bean Bruschetta

A real burst of summer freshness that we assembled using frozen broad beans on a grey winter day. It is now Spring however and you might be the lucky person with some freshly picked broad beans. You can of course use frozen beans which for us are right up there with peas as an absolute freezer essential.

Wine Suggestion: We opened a vibrant Verdicchio from Umani Ronchi; their CaSal di Serra. Thirst quenching and pure peach, apple and lemon fruits that match the season as well.

Ricotta & Broad Bean Bruschetta – enough to make 4

  • 4 slices of rustic sourdough bread
  • 1 clove of garlic, halved
  • 200g broad beans (podded weight)
  • 250g ricotta
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a few small mint leaves
  • a few basil leaves, shredded

Toast the bread until light golden brown, then rub on one side with the cut garlic clove.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the broad beans for 2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water. The beans will now be very easy to pop gently from their skins.

Break the ricotta up with a fork and add the lemon juice, then stir to combine. Spread the ricotta mixture over the toasted bread and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Toss the broad beans with the mint, basil, lemon zest and remaining olive oil. Pile on top of the ricotta and season with salt and black pepper.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2017.)

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A classic recipe that we always find full of flavour and very satisfying. A good veggie dish for a cold night.

Spinach & ricotta cannelloni – serves 4

  • 60g butter, plus a bit extra
  • 300g spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 425g ricotta cheese, drained
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 16 dried cannelloni tubes
  • 45g plain flour
  • 450ml whole milk
  • 40g Grana Padano cheese (or use Parmesan)

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Grease a medium-sized, shallow, oven-proof dish with a little butter.

Bring a large pan, containing 1cm depth of water, to the boil, add the spinach, and stir until wilted. Drain and press out the excess water, then chop.

Melt 15g of the butter in a medium pan and sauté the garlic for a couple of minutes. Stir in the spinach and season well. Take off the heat and stir in the ricotta cheese and nutmeg. Fill the cannelloni with the spinach mixture and arrange the tubes in a single layer in your buttered dish (use both ends of a teaspoon to help fill the tubes).

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 45g of butter in a large pan. Whisk in the flour over a low heat and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until thickened.

Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the sauce generously with salt and pepper and pour over the filled cannelloni tubed. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, place on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes.

(Original recipe from Family Kitchen Cookbook by Caroline Bretherton, DK, 2013.)

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Spinach & ricotta gnocchi

We’re not even sure if these can officially be called gnocchi but they’re easy and very tasty. They look pretty awful before they’re cooked and we were a bit worried that they would disintegrate altogether when they hit the water. All was well.

Wine Suggestion: These were a superb match with the Sartarelli  “Tralivio” Verdicchio we had open which was great. Sartarelli specialise solely in Verdicchio and it shows with a wine of great depth, personality and balance. There is a nuttiness to the aroma and taste which works with the earthy spinach and the balance of fruit complements the ricotta.

Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi – serves 4

  • 200g young spinach
  • small handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 140g ricotta
  • 85g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • olive oil and rocket to serve

Put the spinach into a large bowl and pour boiling water over it. Leave for a couple of minutes until wilted, then drain. Leave to cool, then wrap in a clean tea towel. Squeeze out as much water as possible, then finely chop.

Put the spinach, parsley, garlic, ricotta, flour, eggs, cheese and a generous grating of nutmeg into a large bowl and season. Stir with a fork until completely mixed. Use wet hands to make walnut-size balls. Put the gnocchi on a large plate and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to warm and bring a large pot of water to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and drop in batches of gnocchi, about 8-10 at a time. They will sink to the bottom at first and when they rise to the top you should cook for another minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm while you cook the rest.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan and some rocket.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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