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Spinach-Ricotta Spread on Crispy Parmesan Squares

I’ve become a serious deadbeat in the kitchen. Apparently my culinary inspiration has gone the way of the Walkman and every week I scratch my head over what to make for Feast. Stew Leonard’s prepared foods have become my new bestie – ditto for Progresso soups and frozen ravioli – and gone are the days of lovingly divined meals. I better get my mojo back….soon.

Since I couldn’t possibly share another dessert – although let’s be honest, that’s all I wanna eat – I decided to delve deep into the recesses of my brain and conjure up an appetizer. It is entertaining season after all. I plucked from my mom’s amazingly delicious Spinach Ricotta Pasta and repurposed her sauce into an hors d’oeuvre by spreading it on thin whole wheat pizza dough sprinkled with crispy parmesan. Heaven in a bite my friends; plus they’re quick and easy enough for anyone whose get-up-and-go has fled the building.

Oh, and if you’re a fan of Spinach Artichoke dip, this one’s for you – but wayyyy lighter than what the local TGI-Olive Garden serves.

Spinach-Ricotta Spread on Crispy Parmesan Squares
Makes about 40 Squares

2 batches of whole wheat pizza dough (or 2 boxes of the store-bought stuff) – $4.50
1 lb fresh baby spinach, chopped – $3.69
15-oz container of part skim ricotta – $1.89
1¼ cup + 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan – $3.79
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped – stock
1 Tablespoon butter – stock
1 Tablespoon olive oil (+ some for brushing on the dough) – stock
Salt & pepper – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $13.87
Cost per square: $0.34

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

2. Roll out your pizza dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s about ¼-inch thin (or thinner even). Brush the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of parmesan. Transfer to a baking sheet.

3. Reduce oven temp to 450 and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until bubbling and the parmesan is turning golden. Allow to cool then slice into squares.

4. Prepare the spread. Place the chopped spinach in a colander or metal mesh basket and steam over boiling water until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

5. Toast the walnuts on tinfoil in the toaster or saute over low heat in a skillet until fragrant. Be careful not to burn, this happens easily.

6. In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over a medium flame. Combine the wilted spinach, ricotta, parmesan and saute over low heat until mixture has heated through and cheeses are melting. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Use a tablespoon to portion out spinach-ricotta onto prepared parmesan squares and garnish with toasted walnuts. Enjoy!