Crespelle alla fiorentina

Crespelle alla fiorentina


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The crespelle with ricotta and spinach are a typical dish of the Florentine tradition. It might look like a demanding dish, but the good news is that you can prepare the required ingredients – crespelle, béchamel sauce, filling – in advance and bake it before dinner, or you can even prepare the final dish the day before and reheat it with a drop of milk before your family, or friends, sit at the table.

To begin, prepare the crespelle batter. Whisk the eggs with flour and a pinch of salt, making sure you whisk out any lumps. Pour in the milk in a thin stream and whisk to incorporate. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge for approximately 1 hour
To make the filling, place the washed spinach in a large skillet with a few tablespoons of water. Cover with a lid and cook down on a low heat until wilted
Once cool enough to handle, squeeze the spinach to remove any excess water, it should be as dry as possible. Roughly chop
Heat the olive oil in a pan with the minced garlic on a low flame. When the garlic begins to sizzle gently, scrape in the spinach and sauté for 2–3 minutes until the spinach is dry and infused with the garlic flavour. Set aside and allow to cool
When the spinach is cold, add it to a bowl with the ricotta, grated Pecorino, a pinch of nutmeg and salt. Mix with a fork to achieve a beautifully marbled green and white filling
Taste it: it should have a faint smell of nutmeg and be savoury enough from the cheese and salt. Should it be too bland, add more grated Pecorino. Beat an egg and stir into the mixture. Set aside
Next prepare the crespelle. Heat a 20cm large non-stick pan on a medium heat. Soak a piece of kitchen paper in olive oil and oil the pan. Pour the batter into the pan and swirl to cover it with a thin layer
Cook for 2–3 minutes until the crespella becomes golden brown on the edges, then flip it and cook on the other side for one more minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process until you have eight
Next, make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk for a few minutes until golden and toasted
Pour in the cold milk in a thin stream, stirring constantly to avoid any lumps. Leave on a medium–low heat until thickened and season with a good pinch of salt and grated nutmeg to give the béchamel a delicate spiced aroma
Now you have all the elements ready, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Spread each pancake with the spinach and ricotta filling, then either roll them up like a cannelloni or fold in quarters if you want to bake them in a round dish
Take an ovenproof baking dish, and line with a few tablespoons of the béchamel sauce. Arrange the crespelle slightly overlapping in the dish
Drizzle the crespelle with the béchamel sauce, a few tablespoons of tomato purée, more grated Pecorino and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Lower the oven temperature to 180°C/gas mark 4 and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling on the sides
Eat the crespelle hot just out of the oven or, even better, warm them the next day with a splash of milk
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