This is my version of a sformato. It is almost a quiche, but without pastry, a different custard and somewhat taller; almost a frittata but less eggy and much, much more depth. It usefully creates elegance out of those slightly tired looking little bowls of leftover vegetables hanging about in the fridge. You could of course add say, cooked chicken or ham; exact quantities of vegetables and cooked meats are not really applicable here, but I do think cooked potato is an important ingredient because it adds substance, good for the sformato and, in this case, your tummy too.
50 g butter
50 g plain flour
400 ml milk
100 ml cream (either double or single)
1 onion, diced
2 leeks, halved lengthways then cut up, medium
Half a cooked cauliflower, separated into florets
Half a large head of cooked broccoli, in florets
200 g cooked new potatoes
100 g spinach
250 g ricotta
Salt, pepper, good pinch cayenne (optional)
180g pecorino or other hard cheese, grated
Handful of breadcrumbs
20 cm spring release cake tin, deep lined
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the diced onion with a pinch of salt and cook gently until translucent.
Add the leeks to the pan and continue to cook gently until soft.
Add the flour to the pan and allow it to cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time.
Gradually add the milk little by little, stirring vigorously to smooth with each addition to make a thick white sauce generously flecked with cooked onion and leeks
Stir in the spinach; the heat of the sauce will quickly make it collapse so that it can be easily incorporated.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cream
Allow the sauce to cool down considerably
When the sauce has cooled - it should be no more than tepid - beat in the ricotta
Whisk the eggs (a quick way is to crack them into a jam jar and shake vigorously - make sure the top is secure!). Beat the eggs into the sauce.
Stir in all the rest of the cooked vegetables + ham or chicken, etc. and most of the grated cheese, reserving a little to sprinkle on top and season well.
Pour into the spring release cake tin, sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese mixed with the breadcrumbs and bake 180c for approximately an hour to an hour and a quarter, or until the sformato is puffed up and golden.
Allow to settle before releasing the sformato from the tin, although it should be possible to do this whilst it is still warm. • Serve with a simple salad
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