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Homemade focaccia bread stuffed with ricotta and spinach recipe

Homemade focaccia bread stuffed with ricotta and spinach recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Bread
  • Italian bread
  • Focaccia

This stuffed focaccia is a great alternative to pizza. You can prepare in advance and pop in the oven just for reheating.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • For the focaccia dough
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried active yeast
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 400g bread flour
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 200ml warm water or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Filling
  • 300g fresh spinach
  • 300g ricotta cheese
  • 2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons tomato passata (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil mixed with 2 tablespoons water for brushing

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:20min ›Extra time:3hr20min proofing › Ready in:4hr10min

    Focaccia dough:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in 3 tablespoons warm water; stir in sugar and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place flour and oil in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add the dissolved yeast and about 200ml water, or as much as needed to make a sticky dough. Transfer onto a floured surface; add salt and knead for 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and soft. Or you can fit the stand mixer with the hook attachment; add salt and work for the same time or until the dough sticks around the hook.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl; cover with a clean, slightly damp drying cloth and place in a cold oven with light on. Let rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
  4. Punch down the dough and split in 2 equal parts. Cover and let rise for another hour.
  5. Filling:

  6. Cook the spinach in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water until wilted, about 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer in a colander and squeeze out as much water as possible.
  7. Use a fork to mash the ricotta in a bowl; add cooked spinach, grated Parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  8. Grease a 30cm round tin with plenty of olive oil. Place one piece of dough on the tin and stretch it out with your hands to cover the base, leaving a 3cm rim. Turn the dough to coat it in the oil. Spread the tomato passata on top of the dough; cover with mozzarella and spoon on the spinach and ricotta mixture.
  9. Roll out the second piece of dough so it is wide enough to sit on top of first piece; secure it on top by pinching the edge to seal. Cover the loaf with a clean, slightly damp drying cloth and set aside to rise for 20 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 220 C / Gas 8. Brush the top of the focaccia with the oil and water mixture and prick the top of the loaf with a fork.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until it has puffed up and is puffy golden on top. Serve warm.

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Stuffed Cheese Focaccia Bread Recipe

I love making bread,specially breads which have lots of flavour like this one. This bread has a lovely fruity olive oil flavour in it. I topped it with herb and garlic butter and it turned out so good.

Hope you will give this a try and let me know how it turns out for you..

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Rising Time : 1 hour and 30 mins
Baking Time : 15 mins
Serves: 4


All Purpose Flour / Maida – 2 cups + more
Dry Yeast – 2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Olive Oil – 3 tblspn + 3 tblspn
Warm Water as needed

For Filling:

Olive Oil – 1 tblspn
Garlic – 3 cloves chopped
Onion- 1 sliced thinly
Bell Pepper – 1 sliced thinly
Mozzarella Cheese – 1 cup grated
Italian Seasoning – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

Take yeast and sugar in a bowl, add warm water and mix well. Set aside for 5 mins so it gets bubbly.

Take flour, salt in a bowl and mix well. Add olive oil and mix well.

Add the yeast mix and water and knead to a soft dough.

Now cover it and let it rise for 1 hour till it is doubled in size.

Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic and fry for a min. Add onions and peppers and saute for 5 mins till it is cooked. Add in italian seasoning, salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Now grease a baking pan with olive oil.

Take the dough and divide it in half.

Place one dough on baking pan, spread evenly on the baking pan.

Spread the filling on top and sprinkle cheese over it. Sprinkle italian seasoning. Cover with other dough. Seal the edges.

During the last 10 mins of rising, Preheat oven to 200 degree C.

Now take the focaccia and press using your fingers to create small dimples.

Spoon the olive oil in the holes and sprinkle with italian seasoning. Pop this in oven and bake for 20 to 25 mins.

Oven Baked Spinach Ricotta stuffed Paccheri

Oven Baked Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Paccheri, comfort food at its best with loads of flavor and those crispy bits that everyone loves!

Oven Baked Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Paccheri, miniature version of the well-known Cannelloni with a tasty filling, and baked in the oven to create a cheesy, saucy, textured, all round goodness affair.

All you have to say is oven baked pasta, and I am in. Lasagna, pasta al forno, and these wonderful Paccheri that have so much flavor, stuffed with spinach mixed with Parmigiano, ricotta and a pinch of nutmeg.

It has been a busy winter and I would have to say being part of Food Bloggers of Canada has increased our circle of friends. After some thought and seed planting by the people at FBC, groups from all over Canada, specifically food bloggers, decided to host potluck dinners. In Edmonton and area, we have a few food bloggers and it has been wonderful getting to know each and every one of you. When thinking of what to make for the Edmonton potluck a pasta came to mind quickly and some kind of dessert a close second. Our blog is about Italian food, tradition, and great ingredients, so pasta it is and Oven Baked Spinach Ricotta stuffed Paccheri is the pasta of choice. This dish is truly Italian, usually made for large gatherings as it feeds many, and Nicoletta and I looked for the best in flavor and quality ingredients that we could find.

Let's shop for this Oven Baked Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Paccheri!

Shopping list in hand and we are off, first stop The Italian Center Shop. The pasta selection is vast and many great quality pasta at that. One thing we are adamant about is using good Italian ingredients, and buying good quality pasta is important. Things to look for are Italian brand names this paccheri have a nice texture, a bit rough to catch all the flavors going into this menagerie, a good color, and thickness to the walls as it has to hold in the filling. Next, the cheese aisle to find ricotta. Let us talk ricotta, we look for the moist and creamy, which I have to say is hard to find. We have tried many and some came close to that creamy so sweet/savory taste we have in Italy when we are there. We toss a couple of ricotta containers into the basket choosing one that we acknowledge will do the trick for this oven baked stuffed pasta. Before we leave the cheese aisle, a good quality Parmigiano Reggiano. I know Nicoletta knows her stuff here and a quick look and feel, has a piece of cheese gracing our basket, and us closer to having everything we need. Let's get to the produce aisle and find some tender organic baby spinach, and delightfully they have it in our now somewhat full basket, along with garlic and some yellow onions and shallots. You have to understand that a trip to the Italian Center always brings you home with more than you anticipated, and an important rule, never go there hungry and shop, a basket will not do. Okay, back to shopping, need a good tomato we always look for a brand Mutti as we have found it has the most spectacular flavor, could not find it this time so the next best thing some D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes and into our basket it goes. I think that is it, let's get rung in and see what the damage is to my pocket book.

The seasoning of the stuffing for this oven-baked dish is some salt, pepper, and just a nice pinch of nutmeg, and of course extra virgin olive oil, all things we have already in our pantry. The bill is totaled and not bad considering we have two full cloth bags of groceries. Now we are set and we are so excited to get started.

First things first the sauce needs to happen and it is so easy. Olive oil in a pan, garlic de-husked and pressed releasing all its flavor into the oil as it sautés a bit. I love when I smell that garlic and olive oil, when the aroma starts to come forth, in goes the tomatoes which I pureed, capturing all that flavor and aroma of the seasoned pan. Some fresh basil, salt and pepper, the final step, and the sauce can simmer while we get the filling ready. The baby spinach washed and spun, goes into a pan with some olive oil, sauteed minced onions, and garlic. It is amazing that 3 packages of spinach only results in a bowl end result, the payoff is a wonderful flavor that will marry with the ricotta, and Parmigiano so well. The nutmeg is grated in and this mixture is mixed well and we are set.

We cooked the paccheri for a few minutes to soften them a bit but not too much as they will finish cooking in the oven. We don't want to lose that al dente feel and taste. After I drained them, I placed them in cold water to stop the cooking and set them aside.

The sauce has reduced and the aroma is heavenly, I just want to get a piece of bread and dip it in, but better not we need lots of sauce for this dish and I grab the oven dish and spoon a good layer onto the bottom.

I know people always think how do you get the filling in. Well through trial and error, first times trying a small spoon, and realizing it was going to take longer than it took for the wheat to grow and become this pasta. Next thought piping bag, and yess! it worked fantastically, smoothly flowing and filling each paccheri with ease and within some time the paccheri are stuffed, and sitting in that wonderful sauce side by side, real troopers ready to be baked to perfection. Before that happens we need to finish this Oven Baked Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Paccheri.

Some more sauce on top enough to cover the pasta, and some grated Parmigiano, okay a lot of grated Parmigiano, and a dusting of breadcrumbs and this baby is ready to be baked! We prepared this in the morning and sometimes we even do it the night before. This means that all those flavors have time to mingle, and infuse.

When this oven-baked paccheri are baking, this aroma emanates from the kitchen, that will get everyone hungry. You can smell that cheese melting, the tomato sauce stewing those morsels of paccheri filled with that spinach and ricotta, so moist and sealed by each other ensuring the pasta won't be dry as it has that sauce to steam it. All baked up, nice charred crisp edges formed and just a few minutes to rest and we are ready to eat.

Potluck has commenced. For appetizer, some lovely stuffed baby potatoes made by Megan from Un Assaggio, lovely moist on the inside and crispy on the outside morsels of goodness. Just what the doctor ordered to get things off to a good start. The main, a wonderful vegetarian dish made by Cynthia from Cynful Kitchen hosting a curried soy protein along with a stupendous and flavorful steamed saffron rice with raisins in it. The sides, some lovely roasted turnips, beets, and carrots fragrantly spiced and seasoned, made by Melanie from The Nomadic Wife, and a wonderful sauteed peas and lettuce, made by Margaret from Kitchen Frau. The desserts, a dairy-free chocolate mousse made also by Margaret and an incredible sugar pie that Tom, Melanie's husband, made from a Quebec recipe given to him by his aunt.

I know you're probably thinking, hey what happened to that Oven Baked Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Paccheri. We served it on its own as we would do in Italy, as the first course (primo piatto) after the appetizer. It smelled wonderful: the sauce, Parmigiano and those crispy edges offering aromas to delight the appetite. I love the flavor, the pasta with its al dente nature comes in, some crispy edges giving nutty flavors, bathed in that rich sweet acidic tomato sauce is heaven to my tongue. The filling moist with the spinach so beautifully elevated with the creaminess of the ricotta and Parmigiano. Hints of nutmeg coming through with its slight spice, and that top, the Parmigiano wonderfully melted and crispy with the aid of the breadcrumbs giving us texture and poise. It was a lovely evening being with like-minded people, their families, and Arthur a most social well-behaved baby with an appetite for pasta, what's not to love about that! Next time you are having a family gathering or have been invited or are hosting a potluck, try our Oven Baked Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Paccheri. Sure to be a hit and remembered!

Spinach- and ricotta-stuffed challah

Last weekend, we left the city behind and drove about an hour south to my mother-in-law’s kibbutz to see the rolling fields of ripening wheat ready to be harvested just before the Shavuot holiday, exactly like it was in ancient times.

Shavuot, starting this year at sundown Tuesday, is a festival with three names: Shavuot, which means “the feast of weeks” Hag HaKatzir, or “harvest holiday” and Hag HaBikkurim, meaning “the holiday of first fruits,” when the tribes of Israel were obligated to bring their fresh wheat, barley and certain fruits to the Great Temple in Jerusalem.

As with today, grains were the mainstay of the ancient diet in this part of the world, the grains were primarily barley and wheat. Barley, a hardier grain, always ripened around Passover, and wheat was harvested seven weeks later at Shavuot, making this season the agricultural highlight of the year -- not surprisingly, as success of the crops meant feast or famine in the year to come.

Back in biblical days, the holiday’s menu no doubt included a goodly number of grain-based dishes, but culinary traditions today revolve around dairy products. Why the difference?

As with almost all the Jewish holidays, the key lies in how the rabbis of the Talmud coped with the destruction of the temple in AD 70 and the exile of the Jewish people. Searching through the Bible like employees at a “CSI” crime lab, they found clues that proved to them that the ancient harvest festival had actually coincided with a crucial “spiritual harvest” as well: What the Israelites “reaped” at Shavuot was the giving of the Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

Even the foods we eat on Shavuot today, such as cheese blintzes, cheesecake and cheese-stuffed pastries, reflect their decision. Dairy foods symbolize the purity associated with the Torah, and as the rabbis suggested, a way for the children of Israel to purify themselves before receiving the Torah and kosher dietary laws on Mt. Sinai. Some credit the custom to a line in the Song of Songs that reads, “Honey and milk are under your tongue,” believing the connotation was to compare the Torah to the sweetness of milk and honey.

In fact, a very old European Orthodox Shavuot tradition was to distribute honey cakes inscribed with passages of the Torah to children, as an incentive to introduce them to the Torah.

And so, throughout the centuries, special dairy holiday foods emerged (which, not coincidently, coincides with the fact that in spring, when livestock give birth, there is an abundance of milk). In the dairy regions of late 19th century Russia, the Jews adapted traditional Russian dishes such as cheese-stuffed knishes, varenikes and kugels for their Shavuot table. In Ukraine, schav borscht, made from tender spring sorrel leaves enriched with sour cream and egg yolk, is a favorite.

In the Sephardic world, sweet or savory filo and puff-pastry delicacies are still popular with feta or ricotta-type cheeses, and Bulgarian Jews often add roasted eggplant to the filling. Some Moroccan families continue the tradition of baking challah in the shape of a giant key to help “open the gates of heaven.”

A delightful custom, evoking those ancient processions of farmers to Jerusalem, is to decorate the holiday table and home with green leaves and branches. In medieval times, and even in some congregations today, Jews scatter precious spices and roses on the synagogue floors -- echoing the legend that when the Torah was given, all herbs, flowers, grasses and trees vied with one another for a seat on Mt. Sinai to witness the revelation of the law.

Another ancient custom with kabbalistic roots is an all-nighter called Tikun Leyl Shavuot, based in the kabbalistic belief that at midnight on Shavuot, the skies open for just a brief moment and God hears all prayers.

So what’s to eat? Bread or dairy? One of the great sages said, “Without bread there is no Torah,” equating the two because wheat is nourishment for the body and the Bible is nourishment for the soul. But butter and cheese taste so good.

Maybe what’s most worth celebrating is that we don’t really have to choose.

Spinach-Ricotta Calzone

What's a calzone? Simply put, it's pizza crust wrapped around its topping, rather than supporting it from beneath. You know how, when eating a slice of thin-crust pizza, you fold it in half so it doesn't droop and the cheese and tomato sauce stay put? A calzone is thin-crust pizza folded before you bake it — rather than after!


  • 2 cups (241g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup (113g to 170g) lukewarm water*
  • 1 1/2 cups (283g) cooked spinach, squeezed completely dry
  • 1 cup (227g) ricotta cheese, whole-milk or part-skim
  • 1/2 cup (57g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


To make the crust: Weigh your flour or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough setting — to make a soft, smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or other rising container (an 8-cup measure works well), cover it, and let it rise until it's just about doubled in bulk, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Divide it in half.

Working with one half at a time, place the dough on a piece of parchment, or onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Pat it into a 10" to 11" circle.

Perfect your technique

Spinach-Ricotta Calzone

To make the filling: Combine all of the filling ingredients, stirring until well combined. You'll have about 2 cups of filling.

Spread half of each disk of dough with half the filling. Fold the unfilled half over the filling, crimping and pressing the edges together to seal. If you've shaped the dough on parchment, lift the parchment onto a baking sheet. Or, if you have a pizza stone in your oven, place the parchment on a peel, for easiest transport.

Cut 3 or 4 slits in the top of each calzone, to allow steam to escape. Brush with olive oil or brush with a thin layer of pizza sauce, and top with shredded cheese.

Let the calzone rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 450°F.

Can I add other toppings to this one-hour focaccia bread?

  • Herbs – Sage, thyme, oregano, basil, chives, spring onion, cilantro. Either in the coating before baking, or fresh herbs sprinkled on top after baking.
  • Minced fresh garlic
  • Red onion
  • Caramelized onions
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Peppers – fresh bell peppers, hot peppers or red chili flakes
  • Various Cheeses – cheddar, low-moisture mozzarella, feta, goat’s cheese, Romano, gouda
  • Seasonings – Everything Bagel Seasoning, Za’atar Seasoning, sumac

How to make Focaccia Bread

Add the sifted flour to a large bowl and mix it with the dry yeast. Add the sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 6 tablespoons of oil. Mix with a fork and slowly add the warm water, a little bit at a time.
When the ingredients are uniformly mixed, transfer the dough on a large wooden cutting board or wooden/marble table, sprinkle with flour and knead energetically the dough for at least 10 minutes.

Now make a smooth ball of dough, put it in a large bowl, and cover it with a thin layer of oil so it won't stick. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and set it aside in a warm place to rise for about 1 and a half hours or until it doubles in size. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and with your hands stretch out the Focaccia dough in it.

Drizzle some olive oil and set it in a warm place to rise again for about 30 minutes. Then with your fingers or with the back of a knife punch deep holes all around the dough, then cover all with enough oil to fill the holes and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake at 200°C / 390°F or 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Ricotta and Spinach Calzones

Friday! We made it! I’ve been a total slacker on posting lately – I don’t know what happened, but we all of a sudden got wayyy busier than we’ve been since we moved to Austin. I think it’s good though. We needed a bit of a break after moving to get settled and just take a breath, but now we’re back into the craziness of life and loving it. Well, most of the time. Just not when I don’t get to talk to you guys for a week because I have a hard time finding a few minutes to post these beauties!

If you read my last post or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know we did a 10 day cleanse that ended a few days ago in an effort to reset our eating habits and cleanse our system. We’ve done this same cleanse 4-5 times now and every time I absolutely love it! I regain energy, get back into the habit of drinking lots of water, lose some of my crazy cravings for sweets, and as a bonus, shed a few pounds! We also made a few decisions after ending the cleanse.

#1. We eat as healthy as we can during the week and we allow ourselves some splurges on the weekends.

#2. We’re going back to not buying meat. We’re at a stopping point right now where we feel uneasy about eating meat that isn’t responsibly raised and we don’t quite have the grocery budget to buy farmers market/local meat on a daily basis, so that means we just do without!

So, the plan is that we’ll eat vegetarian during the week and then on the weekend have our splurge meal with some fresh, local meat. It’s a happy compromise for our bellies and our wallets.

Okay, these calzones. I mean, come on, don’t you just wanna pop the whole thing in your mouth?? I love checking out new cookbooks from our local library and since I need some more vegetarian recipes, I just had to try America’s Test Kitchen “The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook”. I used my favorite pizza dough recipe and stuffed them with all the yummy ingredients they recommend and they turned out perfectly! I’m in complete favor of the meatless calzone because you don’t get all the unnecessary grease from the meat soaking into your calzone bread — it’s just a lighter, but still filling meal!

Bon Appetit and Happy Friday!!

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I highly suggest you use eggs in this recipe as they are really important to the richness and texture of the bread. If you can’t eat eggs, you can replace the eggs with equal amounts of yogurt or a flax egg. This will not yield the exact same texture but will still make a lovely homemade bread.

If you would like to use a gluten-free all-purpose 1:1 flour you can. Just like with any other substitution, this may affect the texture of the bread. Gluten-free flours will make for a more crispy bread with less of a chewy texture, so depending on what you are making the Crazy Dough into this can work.