Our CSA member Denise from Centerville has shared some of her favorite recipes for using up her CSA box full of beautiful (if copious) spring greens. Read on for some yummy inspiration, notes from Denise are italicized. My favorite thing about her style (and a good trait of a CSA chef) is not being afraid to substitute what a recipe calls for with what is fresh and in season! Cheers to eating Out of the Box!
Pasta with Greens and Ricotta from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, 1994)
1 bunch watercress (about 1 cup chopped), tough stems removed [I used 1 cup of mustard greens]
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough stalks removed (about 4 cups chopped) [I used 4 cups of a mix of spinach and kale]
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed [I used one green garlic, white & green leaves]
1 Tablespoon olive oil
dash of salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 lb pasta (fettuccine, penne, macaronic, fusilly, shells, etc)
grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled ricotta salata
chopped fresh tomato
toasted walnuts or pine nuts
Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil.
While the water heats, rinse the watercress and chard well, shake off any excess water, and chop coarsely. Saute the garlic in the oil for a minute, until soft and golden, taking care not to scorch it. Add the damp greens and saute, stirring often, until they are wilted but still bright green. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and remove from the heat. In a blender, puree the cooked greens with the ricotta until smooth and evenly colored. Add more salt & pepper to taste.
When the water boils, stir in the pasta, cover and return to a boil. Then uncover the pot and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta and immediately toss it with the sauce in a warmed serving bowl. Top with Parmesan or crumbled ricotta salata, tomatoes and/or toasted nuts.
Spinach Ricotta Pie from Moosewood Cookbook, by Mollie Katzen, 1992)
Crust for one pie shell
1 Tbsp butter/margarine
1 cup minced onion
1 lb. Spinach, stemmed and finely chopped (really, any mix of greens is great! And this uses up a lot of the CSA bags-o-greens)
½ tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp dried basil (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 lb. Ricotta cheese
2 or 3 beaten eggs
3 Tbs flour
½ cup (packed) grated sharp cheese of your choice
a dash of nutmeg (optional)
1 cup sour cream (lowfat is OK), lightly beaten
(Assemble the crust recipe of your preference, I like the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten’s crust recipe.)
Preheat oven to 375F. Melt the butter or margarine in a medium-sized skillet, add the onion, and saute for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add spinach, salt, pepper & basil and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.
Combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Spread into the unbaked pie shell. For an extra rich pie, top with sour cream spread to the edges of the crust. Dust generously with paprika.
Bake 40 – 45 minutes, or until firm to the touch at the center. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.