Why Spinach and Ricotta Pie?
I love a meal that is simple to make, yet when I eat it, tastes a lot more complex. This pie does exactly that.
Firstly, I love filo pastry, unlike all other pastries this one is dead easy to use and work with, and better yet it always comes out perfectly – crisp, golden, buttery and flaky.
Secondly, I always feel healthier knowing I am eating spinach and garlic (even if it is mixed with cheese and encased in pastry).
Lastly, it comes back to the complexity – as a child, I had a Greek next door neighbour and remember being fed Spanakopita when I went over to play. Even as a child I was fascinated by food and thought these small cheese and spinach filled triangles very technical and exciting.
When I eat spinach and ricotta filo pie, I cant help think about the triangle Spanakopita I ate as a child and think of the work and love that went into making them.
2 bunches English spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon dill, chopped finely
2 tablespoons pinenuts
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Nutmeg, freshly grated
4 tablespoons butter, melted
12 sheets of filo pastry
Preheat oven to 180° Celsius. Remove the stalks from the spinach and wash thoroughly in plenty of water. Drain and chop roughly.
In a large saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the spinach. Toss until the leaves start to wilt and take off the heat allowing the spinach to cool and drain in a colander.
Once cool, squeeze out any excess liquid and place in a large bowl along with the ricotta, parmesan, garlic, dill, pinenuts, egg and freshly grated nutmeg. Season with plenty of salt and pepper and mix until well combined.
Brush the bottom and sides of a 25x13cm (13x9 inches) sandwich tin with a little melted butter. Arrange 2 filo sheets lengthwise along the base of the tin making sure to have a little overhanging at the edges. Brush with butter and lay 2 more sheets in the opposite direction to the previous layers also making sure to have a little over hanging. Continue until all pastry is used.
Spoon the spinach mixture onto the filo pastry and fold the overhang in alternating layers until the top of the pie is completely covered. Brush with a little more butter and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden.