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Spinach Spanakopita Casserole

November 11, 2013

This is an authentic, really rich pie stuffed with spinach, onions, cheeses and herbs that are all enfolded by crispy, flaky phyllo dough

Spanakopita or spinach pie is a Greek savory pastry.

It is in the burek family of pastries with a filling of chopped spinach, feta cheese, onions or scallions, egg, and seasoning. The filling is wrapped or layered in phyllo (filo) pastry with butter and/or olive oil, either in a large pan from which individual servings are cut, or rolled into individual triangular servings. While the filo-dough recipe is most common, many recipes from the Greek islands call for a crust made of flour and water to form a crunchier, calzone-like exterior in place of the flaky filo dough. The pastry is golden in color when baked, the color often enhanced by butter and egg yolk. Other white, fresh, preferably salted cheeses may also be mixed with, or substituted for, the feta cheese.

It is mostly eaten as a snack in Greece, and it can be an alternative to tyropita. There is a “fasting”, or vegan, version of spanakopita, eaten during the Great Lent and other religious fasts, and composed of spinach, onions or green onions, other green herbs like dill, parsley or celery, olive oil and a little wheat flour, but without eggs or dairy products; the mixture is oven-baked until crisp. Non-traditional vegan versions are available that typically use tofu instead of cheese.

In rural Greece, smaller amounts of spinach are used, with the missing part substituted with leeks, chard, and sorrel.

The pastry is similar to torta pasqualina, a traditional dish from Italy’s Liguria region, that is very common in Argentina and Uruguay.

It can also be made with puff pastry.

Spinach Spanakopita Casserole

Spinach Spanakopita Casserole

Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Servings: 5
Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9×9 inch square baking pan.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.

Spinach Spanakopita Casserole

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