Bruschetta with Fig spread, Gruyere topped with Prosciutto and Spinach

I had a rough week this pass week. 

I’m so, but SO glad that it’s finally over (or at least in 3 more hours).

Then it will be a pack action weekend in my kitchen.  I’m testing recipes, coming up with yummy stuff that involved expensive ingredients and lots of lost of taste test.

Who said that recipe development is fun?

Oh, yeah – I think I did.

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Agnolotti with Tomato Alfredo Sauce

This is simple and easy.. why? Because the ingredients are all pre-made and when you are in a hurry, trust me buying at the supermarket makes sense.

Now I'm old school, make it from scratch, because well there is nothing better than homemade.  But, I have to be realistic as well... I sometimes don't have the time to make from scratch. I do however have time to take the supermarket bought stuff and modify it to make it taste like I been in the kitchen slaving away all day long.

This recipe is going to be one of those times.   You will need:

1 package of Buitoni Quattro Formaggi Agnolotti 
1 container of Buitoni Alfredo Sauce
1 fresh tomato, diced up into small pieces
1 cup of fresh baby spinach leaves
1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk (if needed)
2-3 tablespoon of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste (I use cracked pepper)
Parmesan Cheese to taste
In a deep pot, place water over the stove to boil for the fresh Agnolotti.  When water starts to boil season with salt and pour the Agnolotti, cook until a bit al dente or follow the package instructions.
On a skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter, once its bubbling, throw the dice tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir, let them cook until they are soft, about 2 minutes or so.  Then add the fresh spinach and stir once more.  The spinach will quickly start to wilt, season with a bit of salt and pepper again.

Next step is to pour the Alfredo Sauce over it and mix together... if the consistency is too thick, add 1 or 2 tablespoon of the heavy cream or milk.  Stir together and taste, if needed add a bit of salt and pepper.  You can also add a bit of parmesan cheese at this point too.  The end results will be a creamy, smooth sauce.

By this point, your Agnolotti should be done.  Take from the pan and using a spoon start adding the pasta to the sauce.  Slowly move them around and coat each of them.

Served on a bowl and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Hot Spinach Dip

I love to have people over to my house and shower them with food. Blame it on my Italian/Latin heritage. We are natural host. If there is a party, we are there cooking, dancing and making sure that everyone around us is having a good time. We love to have people sit at our table to eat and drink and totally enjoy every bite.

Since I moved to Tampa, I have not had the chance to do this. Because well, most of my friends live in other states, cities and I frankly to lazy to go make new friends. Yes, I’m shallow that way.

When I meet Tom, I was glad, because that meant 2 things: One, I could stop cooking for one! And two, I was going to heritage friends by proxy. I was not disappointed; so far his friends are witty, funny, smart and just love to eat – perfect combination if you ask me. Which means that my inner host kicked into overdrive and now we are having dinner parties more often.

And a dinner party must have appetizers! And Internet, this appetizer is the easiest thing you will make (don’t let the ingredient list scare you off) and people will beg you for the recipe once they smother the first piece of toasted goodness with this Creamy Hot Spinach Dip.

1 box of frozen Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 onion, cut into small pieces
1 clove of garlic mince (or garlic paste)
3 tablespoon Butter
3 tablespoon Olive oil
2 cups of fresh spinach, chopped rough (if desired)
1 envelope of Vegetable soup mix
1/2 cup of mayo
1/4 cup of sour cream
2 tablespoon of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 teaspoon of mustard (Dijon type)
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of Gorgonzola cheese
2 round of bread (or similar country, crusty bread) for bowl, another for dipper pieces.

Follow directions to unfreeze the frozen spinach and make sure it’s squeezed dry.
In sauté pan, place the butter and olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a bit until a bit soft, add the garlic and cook a bit more then add the drained frozen spinach as well as the fresh (if using). Mix and cook for about 5 minutes or so, then mix in the dry vegetable mix. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a bowl to cool down.

When spinach mixture is cooled. Mix in the rest of the ingredients (Mayo, Sour Cream, Mustard and the cheeses) Stir until everything is incorporate. At this point you can store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before using. If you are preparing the same day, then turn the oven to 350 degrees
Take the bread and form a bowl by cutting the top and scooping/hollowing out the inside, reserved and put it aside. Spread a bit of butter inside and then scoop the spinach mixture inside, spreading in and around the bread bowl. Spread a bit of Parmesan cheese on top.

Cover the bread bowl in aluminum foil, place in a baking sheet pan and into the oven it goes for about 20 minutes. At about the 15 minutes mark uncovered and cook another 5 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Take out of the oven, and let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Turn your oven to broil (medium setting) During this time, take the scooped pieces of bread and break off until small bite side pieces. The same for the additional bread break into rustic pieces with your hands. Spread on a baking sheet, drizzel with a bit of olive oil and place into the oven to toast up. About 2 minutes or so. Need to keep a watch on it so your broiler does not burn the bread

Take out and arrange the bread bowl dip in a serving plater, with the toasted pieces of break around it. 

Served and bask in the praises