SPINACH, RICOTTA AND FETA FILO PIE
SERVES 4 PREP TIME 30 MINUTES COOKING TIME 1 HOUR 5 MINUTES
This is a low-fat, rustic take on a traditional Greek spanakopita, with ricotta replacing some of the feta and just one spritz of olive oil on the pie’s ruffled top instead of the quite unnecessary – though we’d have to admit, quite delicious – melted butter on every layer. Filo itself is pretty healthy as pastry goes, containing only 3% fat as opposed to up to 50% for puff pastry, making it a perfect Thinner Dinner pie. MAKE AHEAD: The whole pie can be made 1 day ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated, before baking. It can also be frozen successfully – defrost before spraying with oil and baking as below.
500g (1 lb 2 oz) frozen English spinach
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large brown onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 large handful mint leaves plucked and chopped 1 large handful parsley leaves plucked and chopped 1 small handful dill, leaves plucked and chopped pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg, beaten
150g (5 1⁄2 oz) good quality feta cheese, diced
150g (5 1⁄2 oz) ricotta (low-fat if you prefer) olive oil spray
150g (5 1⁄2 oz/8 sheets) filo pastry
Greek Salad or a tomato salad
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Defrost the spinach in a colander. Squeeze out as much water as you can and set aside.
In a medium frying pan over low heat, heat the oil and cook the onion with the salt gently for about 10–15 minutes, till sweet and soft but not brown. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the onion, garlic, spinach, herbs, nutmeg, egg, feta and ricotta. Feta’s saltiness can vary hugely so taste the mixture for seasoning and adjust it to your taste.
Spray a 20cm (8 inch) spring-form cake tin with olive oil spray.
Lay 2 filo sheets horizontally across the cake tin, patting them down into the tin. Take another 2 sheets and place them at a 90-degree angle across the first sheets. Turn the cake tin 45 degrees and place another 2 sheets across, horizontally, and another 2 sheets at a 90-degree angle.
This all sounds very complicated and mathematical but it’s very simple – you should end up with the base of the tin covered by filo, with excess filo draped over the sides of the tin.
Spoon the pie filling into the centre and fold the filo over the top, as messily or as neatly as you choose – messy creates more brown ruffles.