Spinach

Roasted Eggplant Caramelized Onion Spinach Spread

Roasted Eggplant Caramelized Onion Spinach Spread
makes a little over 2 cups

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1 large eggplant
1 medium sweet onion
2 C packed fresh spinach
1 clove garlic
juice from half a lemon
olive oil
butter
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove the ends of the eggplant, then cut in half and place on a baking sheet. Generously coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast eggplant in oven for 45 minutes. Let cool for half an hour.

In a large saute pan, warm 1 T olive oil and 1 T butter over medium-low heat. Prepare onion by removing skins and slicing thin rounds. Add to warm olive oil/butter and slowly cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes.

Once eggplant is cool enough, remove skins and discard. Add the flesh to a food processor, along with caramelized onion, spinach, garlic, and lemon juice. Blend! Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Blend some more! Keeps for awhile in the fridge.

Serve however you want, but I like to cover really good bread in olive oil, salt, and pepper and toast it under my broiler. Heap this spread right on top of the warm bread, and it’s perfect.

So easy. So healthy. So tasty.

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Ravioli

I think homemade pasta is a very special thing. It is absolutely delicious and noticeably more fantastic than the stuff you buy in a box, and because the process of making pasta is tedious and time consuming, making it for someone else truly sends a “you are loved” message. Below is the recipe for ravioli that I made for my family this past holiday.

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Sausage and Cheese Ravioli / Spinach and Cheese Ravioli
makes over 100 ravioli – you may want to cut the recipe in half or quarters, unless you’re really hungry!

Cheese

32 oz whole milk ricotta
8 oz shredded mozzarella
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground pepper
pinch of cayenne, or more – but don’t leave it out!

Spinach
10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well

Sausage
8 oz (or half of a 16oz package) Jimmy Dean hot sausage, cooked

To make the fillings, I first combined all ingredients to make the cheese filling, constantly tasting to ensure that seasoning was just right. I recommend that you do the same. This recipe will make over two pounds of filling, or ping. I separated the ping into two bowls, each with one pound of filling, and added spinach to one bowl and sausage to the other. I left the remaining ping uncontaminated in order to make simple cheese ravioli. I refrigerated the ping until I was ready to make ravioli.

I used Tyler Florence’s pasta dough recipe exactly as written. Because I rolled out the dough very thin, I was able to get double the ravioli per batch. If you’re looking to use all of your ping, you will want to make about two and a half batches of pasta dough. I used a scant tablespoon of ping per ravioli, and that was probably too much.

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I’m definitely no ravioli expert, but I think these came out fairly well for my first time making them completely on my own. I did use a pasta roller and borrowed muscle for the rolling process. I used A LOT of flour. I fork-crimped my ravioli edges, sometimes poorly, which was a bad thing because the filling can ooze out when the ravioli is boiled. Because I made over 100 ravioli, I laid them out on cookie sheets and froze them overnight before packaging them into containers.

I found that boiling them was less about time and more about appearance. Pasta color changes as it cooks, so I just watched for my ravioli to float and uniformly change in color. Maybe 5-6 minutes for fresh, and a little longer for frozen.

By all means, if you have any questions, leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to answer!