Spinach, Pancetta, and Ricotta Pancake Bake

The Spinach, Pancetta, and Ricotta Pancake Bake Recipe Try making with store-bought pancakes for a speedy supper.

Special equipment:
9 x 13in (23 x 33cm) shallow ovenproof dish

For the batter:
1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp fine salt
1 cup whole milk, plus extra if needed
4 large eggs
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled,
plus extra for cooking and greasing

For the filling:
½ cup pine nuts
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 red onion, finely chopped
4oz (100g) diced pancetta
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10oz (300g) baby spinach, washed and dried
9oz (250g) ricotta
3–4 tbsp heavy cream
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce:
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
2oz (60g) Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Separately whisk together the milk and eggs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and whisk in the milk mixture, a little at a time, until it is all incorporated. Add the butter and whisk until entirely smooth. The mixture should be the consistency of pouring cream. Add extra milk if needed. Transfer to a large measuring cup or pitcher, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

2 To make the filling, dry fry the pine nuts in a large sauté pan for 2 minutes over medium heat, turning often until they turn golden brown in places. Set aside.

3 Add the olive oil to the pan and sauté the onion for 3 minutes until softened, but not brown. Add the pancetta and cook it over medium heat for another 5 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the baby spinach in handfuls; it will wilt down very quickly. Cook the spinach only until it begins to wilt, then take the pan from the heat.

4 Place the spinach mixture into a sieve, and press down with the back of a spoon to remove excess water. Transfer to a bowl, add the pine nuts, and mix with the ricotta and the cream. Season well and set aside.

5 Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large, non-stick frying pan, and when it begins to sizzle wipe away any excess with a piece of paper towel. Pour a couple of tablespoonfuls of the pancake mixture into the frying pan, and then tip the pan to cover with a thin layer of the batter. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side, turning them when the first side is golden brown. Set the cooked pancakes aside and continue until all the batter has been used up, adding a tablespoon more butter when necessary. This should give you approximately 10 pancakes.

6 Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lay a pancake out flat. Put 2 tablespoons of filling into the middle of the pancake. Use the back of the spoon to spread it out into a thick line, then roll the pancake up around it. Grease the dish and lay the pancakes side by side in the dish.

7 For the sauce, heat the heavy cream until nearly boiling. Add nearly all the Parmesan. Whisk until the cheese melts, then bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes until it thickens slightly. Season to taste and pour over the pancakes. Top with the reserved cheese.

8 Bake at the top of the oven for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling in places. Remove and serve immediately with a green salad.

This can be made up to the end of step 6, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days, before finishing with the sauce and baking as described.

Spinach, Pancetta, and Ricotta Pancake Bake
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