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Spanakopita

Debbie Matenopoulos's recipe for Spinach Feta Pie
Spanakopita
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for baking pan
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and tender green parts, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, coarse stems removed, washed in several changes of cold water, drained, and chopped
  • 1 pound brine-packed Greek feta
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (1-pound) package phyllo dough sheets (13×18 inches), thawed

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9×13-inch baking pan.

2) Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the scallions and the onion, and sauté until translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the spinach, and sauté until just wilted. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and transfer to a fine- mesh strainer. Cool slightly, then squeeze as much excess water as possible from the spinach, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3) Crumble the feta into small pieces, and add it to the spinach mixture. Add the dill, and mix gently to combine. Add the eggs and pepper. Mix well to combine with clean hands or a silicone spatula.


4) Roll the phyllo dough out on a flat surface, working quickly and keeping it covered to prevent it from drying out. Place 2 phyllo sheets into the baking pan at a time, centering them and letting the edges hang over the sides. Brush the top sheet of each 2-sheet layer with a little of the remaining olive oil, but do not brush the overhanging edges. Continue in this manner until you have used 10 of the phyllo dough sheets. Spread the spinach-feta mixture evenly over the phyllo dough layers in the prepared dish. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the filling, then continue to layer the phyllo dough, brushing each 2-sheet layer with olive oil, until you have used all of the dough. Trim the top layers of phyllo to fit the pan. Slowly pour the remaining olive oil on top, and spread evenly.


5) Before baking, using a large knife, very carefully score the pie into 8 to 10 pieces, cutting through the top layers just until you reach the filling. Precutting makes it much easier to serve, as the phyllo dough becomes crisp and very fragile after baking.


6) Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and flaky, watching carefully. Cool for 10 minutes, slice the precut pieces all the way through, and serve.


Debbie’s Tip: As with most of the phyllo pies, spanakopita can be made with either melted butter or extra-virgin olive oil. I find the olive oil version to be a lighter, more healthful dish, but I also love to indulge in my mom’s decadent, traditional version once in a while. To make it Mom’s way, replace the olive oil used to brush the phyllo with 6 tablespoons of melted butter (we like Land O'Lakes salted butter for this recipe), add an extra egg, and use 1 1/2 pounds of feta instead of 1 pound. It’s over- the-top delicious!


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