Roasted Tomatoes, Spinach and Mushroom Spaghetti Pie
As a rule I don’t use a lot of cheese in my cooking. It’s not that I don’t like cheese-I actually like it a lot. It’s just that as much as I preach moderation as opposed to abstinence when it comes to eating things like butter or bacon that add a lot of flavor along with the ability to clog one’s arteries, I don’t always do so well when applying this to cheese laden recipes like lasagna, stuffed shells, mac and cheese and the like.
Let’s face it, gooey, cheesy recipes create great comfort food. And since we were deluged with a foot of the lovely white powdery substance and we had two couples coming for dinner last night and my good friend Victoria had decided to go vegetarian, when I started to plan my menu a mere 6 hours before their arrival, I was thinking comfort food.
I began by pondering of my soon to become world famous lasagna recipe (that is as soon as I make it again and publish it!). This noodle-less dish is a concession to all of the cheese one generally stuffs in between the layers of pasta, but it takes a lot of time to carefully cut the eggplant and zucchini into long, thin noodle like pieces and to make all of the layers of vegetable goodness that goes in between the cheeses.
Then it hit me! When my kids were young I used to make a Spaghetti Pie that they loved. Of course, this was kiddy fodder: plain tomato sauce (Jordan hated “chunks” in his tomato sauce), ground beef meatballs or sausage on the top and I used to use cottage cheese in lieu of ricotta.
No, this time I would make a “grown up” Spaghetti Pie and although it was chock full of delicious, fatty cheeses, I would make it healthful by using Whole Wheat Spaghetti, roasted tomatoes and a layer of luscious cooked greens. When I went to the store I found “Ricotta Fresca” and I must say, this ricotta was the way that the recipes I have been viewing for home made ricotta sound: it was rich and delicious and it didn’t taste like the plastic carton it came in. It was also quite expensive, so the next time I am making something which calls for ricotta, I think I will try making my own, but this time, since I was short on time and cheese cloth, I bit the bullet and bought the good stuff.
For an appetizer I made a Brushetta, which I will post later this week. It was fast and easy to make and if the empty dish was a good indicator, it was very well received.
To go with my Spaghetti Pie I served a salad of “Super Greens” comprised of red and green swiss chard, tat soi, arugula and baby spinach tossed with roasted organic golden beets (I roasted these at the same time I was roasting the tomatoes), raw Turnip cut into potato stick like pieces and sliced strawberries. I made a dressing out of roasted garlic (again, I roasted 3 heads along with the tomatoes and beets), champagne vinegar, Italian parsley, fresh basil and olive oil. And although we really didn’t need the extra carbs, I also served a crusty French baguette, placing small plates with heads of roasted garlic, butter and olive oil with a bit of balsamic at each end of the table to enjoy with the warm bread.
|Grown Up Spaghetti Pie|
- 2 1 lb boxes of Organic, Whole Wheat Spaghetti, cooked al dente
- 4 large Eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup Grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 7 Roma Tomatoes
- 12 large fresh Basil Leaves
- Olive Oil Spray
- 2 Tbsp EVO
- 3 cloves Garlic, chopped fine
- 6 large Baby Bella’s, sliced thin
- 1 4 in piece of lemon peel, sliced into thin slivers
- 1/2 cup Beet Greens (I used these because I had them from the beet roots-you could use any kind of green you like)
- 1 lb Organic Baby Spinach
- 15 oz Ricotta Fresca
- 1/2 lb Fresh Mozzarella
- 1 Tbsp Black Truffle Oil
- Sea Salt
- Preheat oven to 400 F or 375 F for convection if you have it.
- If using convection, put your tomatoes on a wire rack in a pan, otherwise just use a baking sheet.
- Cut the roma tomatoes in half vertically, spray them with EVO. Sprinkle with 6 of the basil leaves, cut into slivers and sea salt.
- Roast for 40 minutes.
- You will need the oven at 375F to bake the spaghetti pie.
- Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti and while the water is boiling prepare the greens.
- Heat 2 Tbsp EVO in a large skillet over medium heat and add the garlic, lemon peel and stir for a minute allowing the flavors to infuse the oil.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and stir for another minute.
- Add the beet greens and cook, stirring often for about 3 minutes.
- Add the spinach to the skillet, about 1/4 of the container at a time, adding more as it cooks down. You will need to be almost constantly pulling the cooked spinach to the top of the pan, so that it is all wilted. This will take about 5 minutes.
- When the spaghetti is done, drain it into a colander and then place it in a very large bowl.
- Add the butter to the spaghetti and stir it in so that it melts and is fairly evenly distributed. I do this with a large cooking spoon and a spaghetti fork and toss as if it were a salad.
- Add the grated parmesan cheese to the beaten eggs with a wire whisk and then pour the egg/cheese mixture into the spaghetti and mix to combine.
- Dump the spaghetti mixture into a very large baking pan. I used a 17 1/4″ x 10 1/4″ x 3″ stoneware baking dish, but you could use glass or porcelain as well. Press the spaghetti mixture up the sides, creating a “pie crust” with a well in the center.
- Spread the ricotta fresca evenly over the spaghetti crust.
- Spread the sauteed greens and mushroom mixture over the ricotta layer.
- Cut the mozzarella into discs and place them over the greens.
- Place the roasted tomato halves over the mozzarella.
- Sprinkle the shredded parmesan over the top of the tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes.
- Drizzle with truffle oil.
- Serve and enjoy.