Chef’s Table

Chef's Table.jpg

I grew up in a very small Italian village near Lago Maggiore, where I would spend my days helping my grandmother, mother, and aunts in the kitchen. I would watch my grandmother roll out the spinach pasta using the fresh spinach picked from the garden where it grew in abundance during the warm months. To this day I cherish the memories of spending those warm summer days in the kitchen beside my grandmother learning her recipes. The Spinach and Ricotta Tortino has been on the Prego menu for as long as I have been part of the restaurant.

 Spinach and Ricotta Tortino

INGREDIENTS 

Pasta

4 oz of re-milled durum wheat semolina

4 oz of white flour of type 00

2 medium eggs

Tortino Preparation 

Heat tomato sauce in saucepan. Add oil, salt and pepper, basil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

Mix the white flour, the re-milled semolina and 2 eggs. Let the dough rest an hour, while wrapped in transparent film. 

Leave the spinach to dry in a steam pot, then wring the natural liquid out and chop finely to form a cream. Season the spinach cream with a clove of garlic, oil, salt and pepper. If using frozen spinach, cook directly in the pan and seasoned with a little oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Pour the minced spinach into a bowl, add the ricotta and the parmesan cheese and mix well.

With a rolling pin, work the fresh dough on a pastry board to form a fairly regular rectangle. Place in boiling water and cook until tender(3 to 5 minutes).

Place the cooked pasta on a clean cloth and evenly spread the ricotta and spinach cream along the entire surface. Gently roll the dough, bending the ends inwards to prevent the stuffing from escaping during cooking. Cut the roll of pasta into 1-inch cakes place over half of tomato sauce in a dish and top with mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Before serving, drizzle the roll with the remaining, heated tomato sauce, top with fresh bechamel and sprinkle with parmesan.

Bechamel Preparation 

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but doesn’t brown - 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil.Salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove fromthe heat. 

Spinach Cheese Filling

12 oz of spinach

8 oz of fresh ricotta cheese

6 oz mozzarella

4 oz grated Parmesan cheese

1 clove of garlic

salt & pepper

Tomato Sauce

2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil

12 oz of tomato sauce

basil leaves

salt & pepper

Bechamel Topping

2 tbs butter

2 tbs flour

1 ¼ cups milk, heated

salt & pepper