Spinach & Kale Gratin

Kale and Sinach gratinIndoors or out, no one relaxes in March, that month of wind and taxes, the wind will presently disappear, the taxes last us all the year.
Ogden Nash

I think that chicken Modena beats out meatloaf in Michael’s’ favorites category and I can’t say that I would dispute that and since I have been making the particular dish since the 70’s I no longer measure a thing and over the years not much has changed except that I make better bread crumbs for the chicken and out of laziness once in a while I buy the thin cutlets instead of prepping boneless chicken breast, but I find that I don’t like the thin cutlets as much as the ones that I prepare, perhaps they are too thin…

I finished off a bag of spinach and kale for a cheesy crispy crumb topped gratin and made Marcella’s butter and onion sauce for a small side of spaghetti.  Of course frozen spinach and kale are available, but fresh is what I had, blanched, squeezed dry and chopped.  A simple sauce of onions, butter, a bit of flour, pinches of nutmeg, milk, heavy cream and a two cheeses folded into the chopped spinach and kale, topped off with more cheese and bread crumbs and backed in a 350º oven for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Since I don’t measure things often, I suggest a good recipe from Ina Garten is a good source for the gratin…link below.

The brilliant onion and butter sauce from The Essentials of  Classic Italian Cooking made with a few simple ingredients simmered for about 40-45  minutes is perfect for a quick week night sauce for any kind of pasta and great for a full pasta dinner or a nice side of pasta with anything else.

One Pot Hazan spaghetti
I prepared the sauce ahead of time and then proceeded with a one pot pasta cooking method using part of the sauce in the pasta, saving the rest serve over the finished pasta.

Tomato, Onion and Butter Sauce – slightly adapted from Marcella Hazan
28 ounces canned whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
*Optional fresh basil leaves
*Optional cheese rind to add to the simmering sauce…so much good flavor added
Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion, butter, and basil and cheese rind if using in a saucepan large enough to hold all of the ingredients with room to spare as the sauce might splatter a bit, cook over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes.   Stir occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, remove the onion, add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.