Italian Style “Spanakopita”

Spanakopita is a greek dish with spinach and phyllo.  I saw it being made on Martha Stewart and was inspired to create this recipe with a very big italian twist.  IF YOU HATE SPINACH, YOU HAVE GOT TO TRY THIS.  I had 6 people for dinner and served this.  They all hate spinach but they said they LOVED this!

Ingredients:  (This is best if you use all fresh ingredients, including the spices)

  • 2 packages fresh baby spinach (prewashed/ready to eat)
  • 1 package frozen phyllo pastry (20 sheets)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh italian parsley
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (approximately 2 cups) package italian blend shredded cheese (Asiago, Parmasean/Romano, mozzarella)
  • 1 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 450

Thaw phyllo pastry and cover with plastic wrap and damp paper towel to keep it from drying out.  Do not put the paper towel directly on the phyllo, it will disintegrate the dough.

Chop spinach, cilantro, parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, green onions, and rosemary (remove any excess stems),.  Place in large bowl, add minced garlic and stir to mix together.   Fold in olive oil.  Fold in ricotta cheese in small bits (I use a teaspoon and add it in little lumps) and stir. Fold in shredded cheese.

Butter a glass 13×9 baking dish.  Carefully pull a sheet of phyllo and place in buttered baking dish.  (recover with plastic wrap & paper towel to keep from drying out).  With a pastry brush, brush melted butter over entire sheet.  Repeat this process until you have a total of 10 sheets of phyllo layered with melted butter in the bottom of the baking dish.  Spoon in spinach mixture and level it across the phyllo in the baking dish.  Layer remaining 10 sheets of  phyllo to top of spinach mixture, brushing each with melted butter.  (I also used the pastry brush to push the sides down toward the spinach mixture.  Brush top with melted butter.  With a very sharp knife, cut into 3 inch squares.  (It is easier to cut before baking.)  Bake uncovered at 450 for 20 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350 and bake an additional 40 minutes or until phyllo is rich golden brown.  Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

This is a fabulous side dish or you could make it a meal by adding some ground beef, tomatoes, or Italian sausage.  Use your imagination!  The phyllo makes the crust so light and flaky!


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