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Secret Recipe: Spinach Sformato from Cotogna

Image by Eric Wolfinger

7x7 asks the city's chefs for the recipes to their most loved cocktails, bar snacks, starters, mains, and desserts. If there's a dish you can't stop thinking about and want to make at home, email lauren@7x7.com. Your wish may end up on the blog, along with the actual recipe from the chef.

To make chef Michael Tusk’s spinach sformato—a bright green custard with a ricotta-like texture—you’ll need a couple of small ramekins like these from Williams-Sonoma. Tusk likes to use Bloomsdale spinach, a sweet, buttery leaf that’s never bitter and can usually be found at the Country Line Harvest stand at Tuesday’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Makes 6 servings 

2 ounces Strauss farm butter

3 ounces all purpose flour

1 pint whole milk

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds Bloomsdale spinach

1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter six ramekins, and set aside.

2. In a one-quart saucepot, melt the butter, and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon to make a roux. Cook for about a minute, and then whisk in milk. Continue to whisk over moderate heat to make a bechamel sauce. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

3. Heat a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the olive oil, and quickly saute the spinach in two batches until it breaks down and is tender. Squeeze the spinach dry after cooking, and save the spinach water. Reduce the spinach water in the saute pan, and reserve it.

4. In the saucepot, add the spinach, cheese, whole eggs, yolk, and remaining olive oil to the béchamel to mix.  Then, with a hand mixer or blender, blend until smooth.

5. Season with salt, pepper, and a couple strokes of fresh nutmeg. If more flavor is needed, add the reduced spinach water.

6. Evenly divide the sformato base between the molds. Place the sformatos in a baking pan, and pour boiling water in the pan to go half way up the sides of the sformatos.

7. Bake in the preheated oven until a cake tester comes out dry, about 35-40 minutes.

8. Invert the sformatos on to warm plates, drizzle with olive oil, and serve immediately.