Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)

The Greek Festival favorite you can make at home.
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
2 pounds bagged, pre-washed fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, optional
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
14 sheets phyllo * pastry, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup butter, melted

Coarsely chop fresh spinach, set aside. Thaw frozen filo according to package directions, keep sealed in package until ready to use.

Melt 2-tablespoons butter in large skillet or Dutch oven. Add chopped green onions and minced garlic, sauté over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent and lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add chopped spinach, parsley and dill; sauté until spinach is completely wilted. Remove from heat, drain excess liquid and cool completely.**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter sides and bottom of 8×8 square pan or a pie plate.

Combine cooled spinach with Parmesan, Feta and Ricotta cheeses, beaten egg and salt and pepper to taste.

Place 1 sheet in bottom of prepared pan (it will drape over sides of the pan), brush with melted butter; continue adding 5 to 6 more layers of phyllo (staggering the direction the sheets drape over sides of pan), brushing each sheet with melted butter. Spoon prepared spinach/cheese mixture into pan. Cover pie with 6 – 8 sheets of phyllo pastry, brushing each sheet with butter. Fold draped edges over to seal in filling and create a rim around edge of pan. Using a sharp knife cut through the top layers of phyllo into 6 squares or wedges. NOTE: Pie maybe frozen at this stage for later use.

Bake in pre-heated oven 35-45 minutes or until lightly golden brown (bake longer if pie was frozen, do not thaw before baking). Allow pie to stand 10-15 minutes, recut squares and serve warm or cold.

* Phyllo pastry may also be spelled Filo. You may find it in the frozen section of the grocery store.

** Spinach should be as dry as possible. Excess liquid will result in a soggy, less desirable dish.
For variation, try adding a dash fresh grated nutmeg to cheese mixture. This is a rich, delicious, classic Greek Pie! Makes a great lunch or, when cut into small pieces, a nice appetizer. Serves 6 as a main dish

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