Spinach, Mozzarella, and Ricotta Pie

 

SpinachMozzarellaandRicottaPie.jpgHappy Monday!

If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be Spanakopita, the Greek spinach pie that is layered in heavily buttered phyllo. I will post that recipe…eventually. That’s almost like my tiramisu recipe: it’s top secret. I need to see some real commitment on behalf of my viewers before I unveil this Greek aristocracy.

I seriously have an obsession with spinach! I eat it often as a salad (one of my favorites is grilled chicken, goat cheese crumbles, crushed walnuts/pecans, and dried cranberries/orange cutie pieces with pear gorgonzola dressing). I eat it as a side dish (like a classic creamed spinach), and I’ll eat it in a pie–any pie–phyllo or Pillsbury. I don’t discriminate when it comes to Popeye and I’s favorite.

Speaking of Pillsbury, I took a shortcut today and used a ready made crust. I am all for making homemade everything, even when it’s not necessary. Feel free to be complicated like I usually am, but unfortunately, time is my kryptonite today!

I am not going to say that this Spinach pie replaces my aforementioned, beloved, Spanakopita, but if you’re looking for comfort and ease, this is the recipe for you.

  • 1 box of Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (alternatively, you could use another brand, or your own homemade)–make sure you have two crusts!
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoon flour
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and squeezed out dry (I also added two cups of fresh spinach because I had some leftover! Spinach always wilts, so feel free to add more if you have it!)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste–approximately 1.5 tablespoons of each)
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg (optional–it’s an acquired taste! Please don’t add too much!)
  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (maybe more)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I always do more–oops)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten- plus 1 extra egg for brushing on the pastry crust.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In the meantime, prep your onion (diced) and garlic (minced).
  3. In a saute pan, heat to medium high heat and add combination of olive oil and butter for onions. Stir occasionally.
  4. Add small amounts of water every two minutes (about two tablespoons) so the onions become translucent more quickly.
  5. Once the onions are almost caramelized and translucent, add the minced garlic. Stir around–don’t burn the garlic! It’s a sin.
  6. Next, add your spinach. If you’re using fresh, cover the saute pan with a lid for a minute–it’ll expedite the wilting process of the spinach. Be sure to stir the spinach, onions, and garlic so nothing burns. If it gets too hot, take it off the burner.
  7. Cool the mixture for a few minutes (or if you have no time, add everything below EXCEPT the egg–you don’t want to cook eggs.)
  8. In a bowl, mix the spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese.  Fold in the 2 beaten eggs and blend well. Set aside. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg** (nutmeg is acquired) to taste.
  9. Unfold the pie crusts. Butter your pie pan/cast iron pan. Sprinkle surface with flour and press or roll out fold lines with rolling pin.  If crust cracks, wet fingers and push edges together to seal. Place crust, floured side down, in 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish to cast iron pan.
  10. Spoon mixture into pie crust. Top with second crust, fold edges under and crimp decoratively. I seriously used a nightlight (that I bought at the dollar store) to create a design. Feel free to use a cookie cutter to make it more elegant (like an open face pie with leaves over the top; I think that would be beautiful!)
  11. Beat the extra egg with a teaspoon of water then brush (with pastry brush) the outside of the crust with the egg mixture. You do not need the whole egg mixture!
  12. Place on the middle rack in the oven and bake until brown on top, about 40-50 minutes (but check on it every 10-15 minutes.) Let stand at least 15 minutes before cutting. Devour politely. 🙂

 

 

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