Lately when I dine at a “fancy” steakhouse, the menu usually offers the obligatory Creamed Spinach as a traditional side to my choice of steak. This side dish is priced on the menu between $8-$12. depending… Wow – let’s hear it for Popeye’s favorite food! Who knew it would demand such a premium? I am about to save you a few bucks – you’re welcome! In addition, many recipes for this involve a number of steps and a sometimes involved process. I think I have an alternative that is easy, takes just a few quick minutes and does not cost anywhere near the usual menu price. Here it is: CREAMED SPINACH, ITALIAN STYLE. This one is so easy – you won’t believe it.
I have to agree though that this seems to be an ideal side dish for a grilled steak or chop. The restaurants have a point there. However, usually you find it with the spinach so pulverized that the substance you are served resembles a green goo. I tend to leave my spinach leaves whole for this dish. Not only does it make the process simpler, but it tastes less like baby food and more like a delicious leafy green. Go ahead and try this – and see why I have given up ordering it in restaurants and prefer to make my own at home.
What makes it even remotely Italian? As always, it is all about the ingredients: fresh spinach, fresh garlic, mascarpone cheese, and Parmigiano-Reggiano – Yum and done!
CREAMED SPINACH, ITALIAN STYLE
Prep and cook: 15 minutes
20 Oz. Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves (approx. 2 boxes in your produce dept.)
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Clove Fresh Garlic, sliced into thirds
1/2 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
1/3 Cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste (Remember that a little salt – enhances the flavor of almost everything!)
Heat olive oil in shallow pan. Add Garlic slices and cook just a minute to infuse. Remove the garlic!
Add the spinach leaves to the pan while the oil is very hot at medium high heat.
Stir them until just wilted. I like to use tongs which make it easy to flip the leaves.
Now add the mascarpone and reduce the heat. When it begins to melt in, add the grated cheese.
Heat through and stir to combine as the cheese melts in.
Taste for seasoning and add some salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately with some of the grated cheese sprinkled on top.
TIP: You will want to serve this CREAMED SPINACH, ITALIAN STYLE fairly soon after making it while its consistency is thick – as it releases liquid if it sits awhile. It is so easy and quick – you can make it just before dining without much fuss.
PARLA COME MANGI!
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LINDA’S ITALIAN TABLE