Spinach Ricotta Baked Potato

spinach ricotta potatoFor my fifth birthday, I got this really great cookbook: Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual.  It came with bright colored plastic measuring spoons (which are still among my family’s utensil collection today), which was awesome, and it is filled with great recipes and great illustrations.  Throughout my childhood, I poured over this cookbook.  I loved it.  Actually, why am I using past tense?  Let’s be honest: I still have it, and I still love it.

So. Put-back potatoes, anyone?  I’ve been a huge fan since I first made one around the time I got this cookbook.  These days, I usually go for broccoli and cheddar put-backs – a classic combo, and the broccoli adds good fiber.

This particular recipe was born one evening when I felt like a good ole put-back.  The problem: no one had been shopping in a while (a common problem in these here parts), and the broccoli I had in the fridge was on the yellow side (whoops).

I took stock of what we did have.  Ricotta?  Hmmm.  Spinach?  Do-able. Another classic combo, but will it work in a baked potato?

Oh yes, I found.  Quite well.  Read on for my grown-up recreation of a childhood favorite.

Spinach Ricotta Put-Back Potato
serves 1, or 2 an an appetizer or side

1 large baked potato
2 cups roughly chopped spinach
1/2 clove garlic, cut into two pieces
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
splash of milk or chicken broth

1. Heat oven to 450F.  Poke a few holes in potato with a fork or knife and bake for 45 mintues or until soft.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in pan.  Add garlic and let sizzle for a minute or so.  Add spinach and sautee until wilted.  Let cool. Remove garlic.
Alternative: If you’re in a garlicky mood, crush a clove with a press and sautee with spinach.  I was feeling like a light flavor so I could still taste the subtler ricotta.

3. When potato is done, cut potato in half lengthwise.  Scoop out potato, reserving the skins.  In a bowl, mix spinach, Ricotta, potato, and the splash of milk or broth if it seems a bit dry.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Put newly “kicked up” potato insides back into skin. (Have we mentioned I love Emeril??)

4. Put the potato back in the oven until the tops are nice and golden brown.  Enjoy!!

Alternative:  If you want to enjoy your potato for lunch at work, here’s how to prepare it.  In step 3, do not cut potato completely in half.  Just slick the top open lengthwise and pretend the skin is a pocket when you re-stuff it.  Instead of re-baking it, wrap the potato in aluminum foil.  When lunchtime rolls around, unwrap the potato and heat it up in the microwave or (if you’re lucky enough to have one) oven at work.

Note on the image at top: This is what a nearly-burnt baked potato looks like.  I forgot about it in the oven…so try not to overcook yours : )

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