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.
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.
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
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.