Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Italian Bolognese and Spinach Braid

I love italian food. Love it. In fact a pasta attachment for my KitchenAid Mixer is on my Christmas list.  But seriously, what is better than Italian food?  Mexican? Maybe.  But it's a close call. I wanted to make something italian, but I wanted to make a braid, and I didn't want to make another loaf of bread for garlic bread.  So I made this. Was it any good you may ask?  I ate two pieces and my husband ate the rest. That night.

Start with some dough, flour, and...hearts? Love?  Isn't Italy known as being romantic?  I have never been and frankly I want to go but I don't. Cause I will eat so much Italian food that I will never be able to have American-Italian again and that could ruin me.  Or I guess I could go to school in Italy and learn to make good pasta. I digress.  Roll out the doug about 1/4-1/2 in wide.

Add a layer of mozzarella, sauce of your choice, (I chose Bolognese), and then some fresh spinach.

Fresh Spinach makes all the difference.  Look how pretty it looks, all lined up there.

Cut 1 inch sections on the long sides of the dough, and then fold around the filling.

Bake until golden brown.  I added a bit of garlic powder on the top per my husband's request. It added that bit of Italian flare.  Cut and enjoy!

P.S. Sugar Duchess gave me the idea, and the recipe is adapted from hers.  She used an apricot and cream cheese filling! If I was not so lazy, I would have made that one for dessert!

Italian Bolognese Spinach Braid

1/2 tablespoon of instant yeast {only so that it doesn't have to rise twice}

1/4 cup of warm milk

1/8 cup of butter, softened

1 egg

pinch of salt

1 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour

1 jar sauce of your choice

handful (or so) of mozzarella cheese

heaping 2 cups of fresh spinach leaves

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the dour except only half of the flour.  Mix the rest of the flour in by hand.  The dough will be very sticky, so maybe put a little olive oil or butter on them before you mix in the flour.  Knead the dough until all the flour is mixed in.

Roll dough into rectangle, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Place on a greased cookie sheet. In the middle of the dough, place your filling in a long, thin line. Make sure to leave about 1 1/2 inches on each side.  Then cut 1 inch apart slits in the dough.  Starting at the ends, fold pieces over filling and allow them to criss-cross in the middle.  Pinch and fold the ends.  Cover and let rise for about 30-40 minutes.

Place braid into pre-heated 350 degree oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes.  And, enjoy!

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