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Mushroom and Spinach Strudel with Red Wine Sauce

ingredients

7 oz (200 g) ceps (boletus edulis) or cultivated mushrooms
1 - 1 1/4 lb (500 g) spinach (unprepared weight)
scant 1 oz (20 g) butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
7 oz (200 g) ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 oz (50 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 - 9 oz (250 g) packet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
nutmeg
salt and pepper

for the red wine sauce:

3 1/2 oz (100 g) ham
3 1/2 oz (100 ml) dry red wine
1 1/2 tbsp marsala
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
9 fl oz (250 ml) beef stock
1/2 tsp cornflour or potato flour
black pepper

method

1. Heat plenty of water in a large saucepan, adding a generous pinch of salt.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) mark 6.

3. Trim the mushrooms, slice thinly and saute in the oil with a whole, unpeeled clove of garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, stir in the parsley and set aside.

4. Trim and wash the spinach very thoroughly; use the leaves only for this recipe. Add to the large pan of boiling salted water and blanch for 3 minutes; drain well.

5. Heat the butter in a frying pan, fry the shallot gently until tender, add the spinach and saute over a higher heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and set aside.

6. Beat the ricotta with a wooden spoon briefly, then beat in 1 whole egg and the Parmesan cheese, a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper and a very little more garlic if wished, finely crushed. Roll out the pastry into a large square, cut in half and place one half on a baking tray or sheet.

7. Spread all the spinach over the pastry, keeping well clear of the edges; cover with the mushroom mixture and then top with the ricotta, using a piping bag with a large, plain nozzle to make this easier. Cover with the other half of the pastry, sealing the edges very securely by pressing them together with the prongs of a fork.

8. Beat the remaining egg lightly and brush over the surface of the pastry; sprinkle the surface with the sesame seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp, and golden brown.

9. Use this baking time to make the sauce. Cut half the ham (2 oz (50 g)) into strips. Place the rest of the ham in the blender or food processor and reduce to a smooth puree. Pour the wine into a small saucepan with the marsala, the very finely chopped shallot, sprig of thyme, bay leaf and 3-4 black peppercorns. Boil gently, uncovered, to reduce by one third.

10. Mix the potato flour well with the cold stock and stir into the wine mixture followed by the pureed ham. Stir continuously as the mixture heats and once it has reached boiling point, simmer gently, uncovered, to reduce for about 10 minutes.

11. Strain this rather thin sauce into another saucepan and keep warm. When the cheese and spinach pie is done, take it out of the oven. Reheat the sauce if necessary and stir in the reserved ham strips. Cut the pie across into thick slices and serve each portion with a little of the sauce.

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