Roman Style Spinach is a quick and easy Italian side dish, made with spinach, butter, raisins and pine nuts.
The slightly bitter flavor of the spinach pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the raisins and the crunchiness of the pine nuts.
In many traditional Italian recipes, we often use spinach to make fillings. In particular we use to combine spinach together with ricotta cheese and other flavors, like in Torta Pasqualina, Gnudi recipe or Lasagna with spinach, for example.
In this recipe, however, spinach is the real and only protagonist of the dish.
For this reason we recommend to use fresh spinach in season. Compared to frozen spinach, they are more tender, more flavorful and less watery.
Roman style spinach is a very special and tasty side dish. Serve them with meat, fish or egg dishes. They are sure to be a hit!
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How to Make Spinach Roman Style
- Prep Time:10 Min
- Cook Time:15 Min
- Servings: 6
- 1 kg (2 lb) of spinach
- 80 g (1/3 cup) of unsalted butter
- 1 cloves of garlic (optional)
- 100 g (2/3 cup) of raisins
- 100 g ( 2/3 cup) of pine nuts
- fine alt and black pepper to taste
Step 1) – First, soak the raisins in a cup of water, it usually takes about half an hour for them to rehydrate well.
Meanwhile, wash the spinach to remove any remaining soil. Then drain and pat them dry.
Step 2) – In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. If you like, you can add a peeled clove of garlic to flavor the butter. Then add the well-drained spinach and simmer for about 2 minutes.
Step 3) – At this point, mix the spinach well so that the ones on top go to the bottom of the pan. Then cover with a lid and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, always over low heat.
Then squeeze the raisins well and add them to the spinach. Mix well.
Step 4) – Add the pine nuts as well. Mix everything together, add a little salt and black pepper to taste. Remove the lid and cook for another two minutes over high heat to allow excess liquid to dry.
Transfer the Roman Style Spinach to a serving dish and serve hot.
How to Store Roman Style Spinach
Store the spinach alla romana, sealed in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to one day.
You can prepare the Spinaci alla romana a few hours in advance, but in any case during the same day. For a fresher taste, stop the cooking immediately after adding the raisins and pine nuts. Then, just before serving, finish cooking the spinach alla romana. That way you’ll have a side dish that’s cooked ahead of time but looks like it was just made!
How to Cook Spinach
If you are using tender baby spinach, as in our recipe, no precooking is necessary. Rinse the spinach and then place them raw directly into the pan with the melted butter. There is no need to add liquid, the vegetables will cook in their natural moisture. Cooking is very quick given the tenderness of the leaves.
If you use regular “full leaf” spinach, older then baby spinach, you must first wash it much more thoroughly to remove the soil that lurks in the roughness of the leaves.
Then cut the leaves from their woody stems. Pre-cook the leaves in boiling salted water for about five minutes, drain immediately and run the spinach under cold water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze the liquid out of the spinach and proceed with the recipe.
If you can’t find fresh spinach, you can use frozen spinach in the same amount. Of course, the taste will not be the same as fresh spinach, but frozen spinach can be a valuable resource.
In this case, we recommend to buy frozen spinach in the form of whole leaves, not in pieces. You will have to thaw them first in boiling water and then squeeze very well before putting them in the pan with butter.
Roman Style Spinach: Variants
Genovese Style Spinach
Spinach Genovese style is an appetizing side dish made with spinach, raisins, pine nuts and anchovies in oil.
As you can see, the most important difference from Spinaci alla romana is the addition of anchovy fillets.
Sauté the anchovy in a little extra virgin olive oil. When it has melted, add the spinach.
During cooking add raisins and pine nuts and at the end – another difference – sprinkle the spinach with plenty of chopped fresh parsley.
Spinach alla Romana: an Appetizer
Usually, as we said, Spinach alla romana, is a side dish suitable for both meat and fish dishes.
However, if you serve spinach Roman style on croutons or in single-portion glasses, it can become an original and tasty idea for an aperitif with friends, an appetizer or a buffet dinner.