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03/26/2014

~An End of Winter Ricotta & Spinach 'Pizza' Quiche~

IMG_7837Pizza quiche?  If you're thinking those two words don't belong together in the same sentence, you have two choices:  read on or move on.  Busy moms who know how to cook are notorius for pulling an inventive, delicious meal out of their apron pocket in the blink of an eye.  Busy moms who have the creativity to give it a kid-friendly name, especially if it's got spinach or broccoli in it, are natural born story tellers.  As I always say, "there is more to a recipe than a list of ingredients. There is either a history or a story behind that forkful of food:  take the time to tell it!"     

IMG_7543Some days you open your refrigerator door and you just know what you are going to cook. Today was one such day, and, it had nothing to do with it being National Spinach Day.  The ingredients (a half of a container of ricotta cheese, a box of thawed spinach, and, a small bowl of grated Parm-Regg were staring at me.  I made ~ Ricotta & Spinach Gnudi (Dumplings) w/Marinara ~ on Monday (just click on the Related Article link below to get my recipe). I'm making quiche with my leftovers.

IMG_7824This recipe is a quiche (KEESH), not a pie, because it contains cream, eggs and has no top crust. It's also baked in a classic, fluted-edge quiche dish. This quiche is not one I serve for breakfast or brunch. It is a lunch, dinner or late night snack quiche.  Italians are famous for a pie called "Pizza Rustica", an elaborate ricotta pie traditionally served at Easter.  This is not that. This is: easy, weeknight quiche -- made Italian-American family style. 

Tumblr_m6dstruhke1qmbdr9o1_500It was back in the mid-eighties. Quiche was the food trend du jour back then, and, I bought the ingredients to try a recipe that appeared in the Parade magazine of our Sunday newspaper.  As luck would have it, a mid-week snowstorm hit and our three elementary school-aged boys were at home with me.  They ate their routinely packed lunches around Noon, and, in the afternoon I decided I'd make "that quiche" for dinner.  Joe arrived home from the office and "it" came out of the oven looking beautiful but "green".  When I served it to my boys and Joe, I put a dollop of marinara sauce on it and told them it was "pizza quiche"!

I wasn't expecting rave reviews, but happily:

IMG_7763All of my men ate quiche that night & "pizza quiche" was born!

IMG_76901  9" pie pastry, homemade or store-bought

1  10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, well-drained and squeezed "dry" of liquid

1/2  cup finely-diced yellow or sweet onion

1 1/2  cups whole-milk ricotta cheese

3/4  cup each:  grated mozzarrella and provolone cheese

1/2  cup finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1  cup cream

3  jumbo eggs, at room temperature

1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4  teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1/4  cup additional finely-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for topping quiche

a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, for topping quiche

2-3  cups warmed marinara sauce, preferably homemade, for dipping or drizzling

Wondra flour, for sprinkling on unbaked pie shell after placing and forming in quiche dish

IMG_7687~ Step 1.  Place the pie pastry in the quiche dish and sprinkle some Wondra flour over the bottom.  Prep the spinach, onion and onion as directed and grate the cheeses. 

IMG_7699~ Step 2.  In a large bowl, using a fork, whisk together the cream, eggs, nutmeg, salt and red pepper.

IMG_7714~ Step 3. Add the ricotta to the egg mixture.  Using a large spoon, stir and break up the ricotta until the mixture resembles "very creamy scrambled eggs".

IMG_7717~ Step 4. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the three grated cheeses and the diced onions.

IMG_7735 IMG_7731~ Step 5. Using your fingertips, crumble the spinach into small bits and pieces (not chunks).   

IMG_7732Using the spatula, fold spinach into the cheese mixture.

IMG_7752~ Step 6.  Transfer all of the filling to the prepared pie shell.

IMG_7748Sprinkle with the additional Parmigiano-Reggiano and red pepper flakes.

~ Step 7.  Bake on center rack of 350 degree oven 40-45 minutes, or until puffed up, golden brown, and, a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack about 15 minutes prior to slicing.

IMG_7773Serve each slice with marinara for dipping or drizzling:

IMG_7869An End of Winter Ricotta & Spinach 'Pizza' Quiche:  Recipe yields 8 servings.

Special Equipment List:  9" quiche dish; cutting board; chef's knife; cheese grater; fork; large spoon; large rubber spatula; cooling rack

PICT0011Cook's Note:  For another one of my quiche recipes, which I make when I have a lot of fresh basil on hand, ~ An End of Summer Tomato, Basil & Brie Quiche ~ can be found in Categories 2, 9, 11 & 14!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014) 

Comments

Teresa! It wasn't a dinner I expected "my boys" to love me for, but, they did!

Very clever trick, Mel. Love your "pizza quiche!" Moms rule. ;)

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