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Little Carrot and Spinach Crowns

Coroncine di Carote Agli Spinaci

SERVES 6

The word contorni refers to the vegetables that accompany the main course. I made this colorful vegetable combination for my family to go with a roast pork. My son Chris, who is suspicious of all vegetables, actually enjoyed these. This is a beautiful dish, easy to prepare ahead.

Ingredients

1 pound fresh spinach, washed and stemmed

4 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 pound carrots, peeled and quartered

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup plus 12 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

Place the spinach in a skillet, cover the pan, and cook over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, or until the spinach wilts. Drain the spinach in a colander, squeezing out as much water as possible. Place on a cutting board and cut it into strips.

Dry out the skillet, pour in and heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, then add the onion, sautéing until soft and golden. Add the spinach, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Stir, cooking the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes. Keep warm.

Place the potatoes, carrots, and remaining salt in a pot. Cover the vegetables with water and boil until very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the vegetables in a colander. Return vegetables to the pot and "dry" them over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Place the vegetables in a food processor, blender, or bowl. Add the butter and puree or mash by hand until very smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add 1/4 cup of cheese and the nutmeg, and combine well.

Grease a large casserole dish with the remaining olive oil. Fit a 12- or 16-inch pastry bag with a star tip. Fill bag with some of the carrot-potato mixture, then pipe out twelve 2-inch circles into the prepared casserole dish. Using a circular motion, fill circles with the mixture to build up the sides so that they are about 1 inch high. If necessary, reheat circles in a 350°F oven for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven.

Divide the spinach mixture among the circles, placing about 1 1/2 tablespoons in the center of each. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops and serve immediately.

Note: To make this ahead, grease a large casserole with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Form the circles, cover them, and refrigerate until serving time. Heat circles in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes or until hot. Serve immediately.

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