Spanokopita (Spinach Pie)

Spanokopita may just be one of my favorite foods of all time.   And I have to say, I love my recipe.  Lots of parsley and dill and lots and lots of feta.  I think it’s fairly authentic too as it was originally given to me by a Greek friend but who knows.  It isn’t exactly the quickest meal, so it’s not something that I can whip up on a weeknight but what I like to do (and what I’ve done today in fact) is make two trays on a Saturday or Sunday and bake one right away and freeze the other for whenever.  If you make it ahead, do all of the steps except baking, wrap it well, and then freeze.  When it comes time to bake them, just cook it for about an hour.  Also, do not be afraid of phyllo dough – people worry about it tearing or ripping, and it might, but it really doesn’t matter.  It will still come out crispy and flaky and just beautiful.   Finally, my secret for making it much easier is to use cooking spray (they even have olive oil flavored now) for each layer of dough rather than slathering on the butter or oil.  SO much easier.  But if you prefer you can just brush olive oil or melted butter onto the phyllo instead.  Note that the recipe below is for 2 whole casserole dishes – if you want to just try one for now, obviously just half the ingredients.

Ingredients

4 16-oz bags chopped frozen spinach (thawed and then squeezed of excess liquid)

1 package of phyllo dough

1 onion or 2 large shallots, chopped

1 bunch (about 6 pieces) scallions, chopped

1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 cup fresh dill, finely chopped

5 eggs

18 oz of feta cheese, crumbled

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

ground black pepper

Cooking spray, olive oil, or melted butter

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Over medium heat, sauté onions and scallions in olive oil until soft – about 4-5 minutes
  • Add drained spinach, parsley, and dill – cook an additional 4-5 minutes
  • Season with pepper to taste and transfer to a baking sheet or shallow bowl to cool (the more shallow the bowl, the quicker it will cool)
  • In another bowl, beat the eggs, then add feta and ricotta – stir well
  • Fold in the greens
  • Spray a large (9×13) baking dish with cooking spray.  Working quickly so the phyllo doesn’t dry out, add a layer of phyllo to the bottom of the dish so that part of the sheet overhangs on one side of the dish and spray with cooking spray.  Alternating the side of the dish with the overhanging phyllo, repeat the layering/spraying until you have 8 full layers on the bottom.
  • Spoon half of the spinach and cheese filling onto the phyllo dough.
  • Add 4 layers of dough across the top of the filling, spraying with cooking spray each time.  Then fold the overhanging phyllo over, again spraying the top of each layer with cooking spray.
  • At this point, either bake for 25 minutes or wrap well and freeze.
  • Repeat with second baking dish and remainder of filling.
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