Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.
Anything alla fiorentina, meaning Florentine style, usually signifies that spinach is in the dish. In this preparation a white sauce, besciamella, provides added richness
BESCIAMELLA SAUCE - MAKES 2 CUPS
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
2 cups hot whole milk
Fine sea salt to taste
Grinding coarse black pepper
2 ten ounce packages fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook the mixture over medium heat until it thickens on the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Cook the spinach in a large pot without any additional water. When it is wilted, drain it and squeeze it dry. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan, add the garlic and the spinach and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the besciamella sauce and transfer the mixture to a 9-inch Pyrex baking dish.
Spoon the remaining sauce over the top of the spinach and sprinkle the top with the cheese.
Bake about 15 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the cheese has browned. Serve immediately.