Garlicky spinach and creamy ricotta cheese go together perfectly in these empanadas. I've read in several places on the internet (but don't know firsthand) that spinach empanadas are the invention of a famous bakery in Colombia.
Although usually enjoyed as a snack in South America, empanadas are very portable and perfect for a meal on the go. They freeze well, and are best reheated in the oven.
- Empanada Dough (see link to recipe below)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chile powder
- 1 large bunch spinach
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, or similar white cheese such as queso quesadilla
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg
- Prepare one recipe of empanada dough, and set aside at room temperature.
- Finely chop the garlic.
- Wash the spinach and remove the stems. Roll up the spinach leaves in bunches and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch strips (a rough chiffonade).
- Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the garlic and chile powder and sauté, stirring until garlic is golden brown.
- Add the spinach (in batches if necessary) and cook briefly until spinach is wilted and soft.
- Remove from heat and drain spinach in a colander. Let spinach cool briefly.
- Grate the mozzarella cheese and stir into the spinach with the ricotta cheese and the parmesan. Season spinach mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Divide empanada dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 6 to 8 inch diameter circle. Add about about 1/4 cup of filling to the center of the dough circles, and fold the dough over the filling to make a half circle. Pinch the edges of the dough together firmly to seal them, then crimp the edges decoratively.
- Place the empanadas on a baking sheet. Whisk the egg briefly, then brush egg wash over the empanadas.
- Bake the empanadas for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly puffed.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 8 large empanadas.