Want something maybe a little different to go with your Sunday supper? Try spanakopita. It looks much more difficult than it actually is, tastes wonderful, and looks pretty darn cool. Don’t do Sunday supper? Make this anyway. Don’t have enough feta or spinach? Do what I did a sub in some yummy chard and ricotta. It will all be delicious in the end. Even cold for breakfast.
Spanakopita from The New Moosewood Cookbook:
Makes about 8 servings
2 Tb. olive oil plus a little more for the pan
2 c. minced onion
½ tsp. salt
1 Tb. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2½ lb. fresh spinach, stemmed and finely chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced (or 6 or 7 or 9. Whatever.)
3 Tb. flour
2-3 c. crumbled feta cheese, about 1 lb.
1 c. cottage cheese
Black pepper, to taste
1/3 c. olive oil
1 lb. phyllo pastry, 16 to 20 leaves, thoroughly defrosted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13” baking pan.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or deep skillet. Add onion, salt, and herbs, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onion softens. Add the spinach, turn up the heat, and cook, stirring, until the spinach wilts, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic. Sprinkle in the flour, stir, and cook over medium heat 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove from heat.
Mix in the cheese, then correct the seasonings, adding black pepper to taste along the way.
Place a sheet of phyllo in the prepared pan, letting the pastry edges climb up the side. Brush it all over with olive oil, then add another sheet. Keep going until you have a stack of 10 oiled sheets. Don’t let it creep too high up the edge or it’ll crumble a lot if you try to transport it.
Add the filling, spreading it evenly to the edges. Continue layering and oiling the remaining phyllo on top of the filling. Oil the top layer. Gently with a serrated knife in a sawing motion cut the unbaked spanakopita into squares. Bake uncovered for about 45 minues, or until golden and crispy. Serve hot or warm.
Phyllo gets kind of a bad rap because it can be difficult to work with and dry out quickly. You just have to be faster. This was not that difficult to put together and it was tasty for days afterward. Give it a try.