A few photos from our recent (and annual) visit to Underwood Family Farms’ Harvest Festival. The pumpkins and the squashes are perhaps the only vestiges of Fall here in Southern California. We’re having what seems to be an endless summer. The sun is still roasting, you still need a hat and a gallon of water to get through the day. As often as I like to brag about the “mild” weather here in the West, right now I almost envy the folks back East who are enjoying Fall as it’s meant to be, with days when you actually need to pull on a sweater.
I’m told the weather will be changing soon, and I’ll get my chance to put away the shorts. I am,however, enjoying the Fall food that’s in the markets. Almost rhythmically I feel myself wanting to cook warmer, heartier meals despite how hot it still is. Below is just such as example. A savory pie with a flaky crust that is perfect for a Sunday night supper.
Wild mushroom, spinach and ricotta pie
1 pound fresh spinach
2 tbsp. butter, divided
4 leeks sliced
20 ounces of assorted mushrooms (about 3 cups)
2 garlic cloves chopped
1/4 cup white wine
8 ounces ricotta cheese
6 ounces soft goat cheese
2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper
2 rounds of pie crust (made by hand or pre-made)
Heat oven to 350-degrees.
Coarsely chop the spinach. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of butter. Add the spinach and cook until the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat, saute the leeks, mushrooms and garlic with the remaining butter until you smell the garlic, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are soft and the liquid in the pan has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 2 eggs, ricotta, goat cheese, 1 tablespoon thyme, parsley, nutmeg, lemon juice and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add spinach, mushroom leek mixture and gently combine.
Roll out your pie dough. You’ll need two pieces for the top and the bottom. Place and shape in a pie plate. Spoon the spinach, cheese, and leek mushroom mix into the pie plate. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme. Drape the second piece of pie dough over the top and crimp the edges. Slice a few air vents in the top of the pie.
Bake until golden brown, about 1 hour.