Friday, August 20, 2010
I found this recipe for Savory Focaccia Pie in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I've put it on my meal plan 3 or 4 times, but each time, I just never got around to making it. Yesterday, with a fresh-bfaked loaf of focaccia and all of the ingredients on hand, I had no excuse to put this recipe off again. The focaccia makes for a flavorful crust and the combination of Italian sausage, sun dried tomato, spinach, and fresh mozzarella produces a tasty result. There were a couple of problems with this recipe. First, the homemade focaccia that I made was too "fluffy". There was just too much bread and it overwhelmed the flavors of the toppings. Second, because there was no sauce and I used chunks of fresh mozzarella rather than shredded cheese sprinkled evenly over the pie, there was nothing to bind the toppings to the bread. They kept falling off, making for a messy dinner, and worse yet, making it nearly impossible to get all (or any!) of the toppings in a bite. A flatter, denser focaccia would have definitely helped this recipe to realize it's potential.
I began this recipe with a loaf of focaccia bread.
The recipe called for a 12 inch focaccia. This one was quite a bit bigger, so rather than cutting it into the recommended 8 slices, I cut it into 10. Brush it with some oil from the sun dried tomatoes and put the slices into a 250 degree oven to warm while you prepare the other ingredients.
The recipe called for 3/4 cup of sun dried tomato halves packed in oil with Italian herbs. Sun dried tomatoes packed in oil are expensive! I found plain sun dried tomatoes for sale by weight at my corner store. This is about 1/4 lb. of sun dried tomatoes. I only paid $1.80.
Then I poured a little olive oil mixed with Italian dipping spices over the top and tossed them around. I let the tomatoes sit, soaking up the oil for an afternoon.
When the time came to assemble the focaccia pie, I removed them from the oil and chopped them up.
I browned 8 oz. of Italian sausage and set it aside to drain on paper towels.
Then I put 4 cups of baby spinach into the skillet and cooked it in the sausage drippings until...
it was just wilted.
The recipe calls for 2 oz. of crumbled goat cheese. Try as I might, I cannot stomach the stuff. I mean it...foodie that I am, I've tried...lots of times. I know that my hang up stems from the fact that we raised sheep on our farm for most of my childhood. Sheep have a very distinct smell. To me, goat cheese tastes just like the smell of sheep. I know, crazy, right? So goat cheese was out, but I LOVE fresh mozzarella, so I went with that. You could also substitute feta.
Here are the toppings, all ready to go!
Arrange the focaccia slices into a circle and cover it in all of those delicious toppings.
Place the focaccia pie under the broiler until the cheese melts and the toppings are heated through.
And that's dinner!
Savory Focaccia Pie from Better Homes and Gardens
Start to Finish: 22 minutes
3/4 cup oil-packed dried tomato halves with Italian herbs (3 oz.)
1 12-inch round flat-top rosemary or garlic focaccia
8 oz. bulk Italian sausage
1 4-oz. pkg. baby spinach (4 cups)
2 oz. goat cheese (chévre) or feta cheese (I used fresh mozzarella)
1. Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Drain tomatoes, reserving oil. Place focaccia on large baking sheet and brush with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Cut in 8 wedges. Arrange wedges in circle. Place in oven to warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Drain sausage in a colander, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in skillet. Cook spinach in drippings just until wilted.
3. Set oven to Broil. Top warmed focaccia with cheese, dried tomatoes, sausage, and spinach. Broil, 4 to 5 inches from heat, for 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is softened and toppings are heated through. Drizzle wedges with additional oil from tomatoes (optional). Makes 4 servings.
Calories 548, Total Fat (g) 29, Saturated Fat (g) 10, Monounsaturated Fat (g) 11, Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 3, Cholesterol (mg) 64, Sodium (mg) 1006, Carbohydrate (g) 55, Fiber (g) 2, Protein (g) 22, Vitamin C (DV%) 50, Calcium (DV%) 24, Iron (DV%) 16, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet