I get tired of the meat-veggie-starch dinner. It is functional but boring. Like a pair of good walking shoes. They get you where you need to go, but you don’t look very good once you get there. (or on the way, actually, continuing this pathetic metaphor). That kind of dinner is boring to make as well as eat. I am a COOK. I like to try new things, use my tools and be inspired by my food. Most weeks, I try to mix in something that is a little more exciting than the classic three part meat dinner and on occasion, I end up with something really terrific. This was one of those weeks. This dinner was the first time in ages that I have sat down at the table and said “I have to take a picture of my food. This is so good.”
This dish is not something that fits into the “healthy eating” category of my recipe book, but it really is worth the splurge. I use homemade pastry here. It is easy and really worth it. Of course you can buy a pastry dough, but why not just try to make it? If it fails, grab your backup out of the fridge, but if it works, you will not regret the (small) effort required.
Mike summed it up perfectly: “I want to go to the city where this is the street food.”
Sausage Spinach Asiago Turnovers
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick of butter, frozen or very cold
1 medium sweet onion, chopped (1-1/2 to 2 cups)
1 lb sweet chicken Italian sausage (use patties or remove the casing from links)
1/2 lb frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed
2/3 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2 Tablespoons milk
Make the pastry. Cut the butter into pebble size chunks. In a food processor combine the butter and flour. Pulse until the butter is pea sized or smaller. Very slowly, add ice water with the processor running. As soon as the dough comes together to form a ball, stop processing. (It should happen around 3 Tablespoons of water). Remove the dough, form into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Make the filling. While the pastry is resting, in a large fry pan, sauté the onion until tender. Add the sausage and cook through, breaking up with a spoon. Remove to a bowl to cool.
Squeeze the spinach out with your hands to remove as much water as possible. Add to the sausage mixture. Once the mixture is fairly cool, add the cottage cheese, asiago, pepper, nutmeg, and Italian seasoning. Stir well to combine.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Assemble the turnovers. Cut the pastry into five pieces and roll each out into a circle.* Mine ended up being about 8 inches in diameter and less than 1/8 inch thick. Place the pastry on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Position them as you would like them to be for baking. You don’t want to try to move them once they are filled. Pile filling in the middle of the pastry and carefully fold the pastry over to create a turnover. Match the edges up and roll them in to seal. You can crimp these with a fork to ensure that they are sealed. You really don’t want the pastry to break or to seep your yummy filling out onto your cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining 4 pieces of pastry.
Whisk the egg and milk together in a small dish. Brush over the top of the pastry.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Serves 5 (or 2 if Mike is the other person eating with you)
*It doesn’t need to really be a circle, it just needs to be somewhat symmetrical so that the edges match up when you turn it over. No prizes for perfection here – this is supposed to look like street food.