Spanakopita

Spanakopita is a recipe I have been making for a few years, but never make it as much as I should!  While Joe has been off after his neck surgury, I thought it would be good.  I was SOOO right!

Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie made with layers of phyllo and a filling of seasoned spinach, onions and scallions, feta and sometimes egg.  My recipe is basically that, with the addition of cubed cooked chicken, and sometimes peppers.  It is a recipe that can easily be adapted to any addition you would like, more veggies or extra scallions, but the basic format is the same, and it is always good.

First things first.  Get out your biggest skillet, you’ll need the room!  Start out by sauteing your onion, green onion and garlic until lightly cooked and fragrant.  Things are starting to smell good!

Next add the spinach. This is where you need the space!

I have had people ask if you can use frozen spinach in this recipe, and I have thought it threw each time.  If you did, you would REALLY have to squeeze it dry and make sure all the water was out of it.  When you use phyllo dough, you want it to get nice and crispy, and I would be worried that the excess water that might be retained in the frozen spinach might make the phyllo soggy.  I like the texture fresh spinach gives you also, since frozen spinach is usually so chopped it might be to fine. 

Once you get the spinach wilted, turn off the heat, and get the egg/ricotta mixture started. 

It looks very similar to the filling for lasagna only it will have feta cheese added in.  Once this is well combined, add the spinach mixture, and stir until well blended.

Now, some people make these into small, 2 to 3 bite triangles.  For our family, I do a 11-by-7 inch casserole dish.  You could also do this recipe in a 9×9-inch dish, it would just have a thicker filling layer. 

Spray your pan with pan spray or brush with olive oil.  Layer in your pyhllo dough according to the recipe.

(You can see I cook with my laptop for company! )

Pour in your filing and fold over the phyllo dough.  I like to lay in a few roughly folded sheets of phyllo to give a nice crispy layer on top. (The picture below is without the layers on top.)

Bake and eat! This is really good piping hot with a nice green salad on the side.  It is filling and hearty with the crispy phyllo giving you a nice crunch.  If you have any leftover, it is best reheated in the oven, since it will help to crisp up the phyllo a little bit!

Spanakopita

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 bunch green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 pounds spinach, rinsed and chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

8 sheets phyllo dough

1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9×9 inch square baking pan. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach and parsley, and continue to saute until spinach is limp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, and feta. Stir in spinach mixture. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.

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