Growing up on the east coast gave me the opportunity to experience many diverse ethnic cuisines. As a child, Greek Diner’s became one of my favorite places to frequent. My grandmother used to bring me (regularly) to ‘Penny’s Greek Diner’ in Norwalk, CT. We went there so often that eventually the owners had no need to take our order - they just brought out our meals.
Later on in life when I began dating my husband, my grandma just had to invite him along to our special Greek Diner. Wouldn’t you know he quickly discovered his favorite dish too- ‘Spanakopita’, Greek Spinach Pie. He shared with me (reluctantly) and it became my favorite as well.
After moving to Oregon, we actively sought out Greek restaurants to test their versions of our favorite dish, but none compared. Many disappointments later, we realized we needed to learn how to make this specialty on our own to satisfy the cravings. Thankfully, Mollie Katzen, author of Moosewood Cookbook, had just the recipe we were looking for. We’ve made some modifications, but our version is originally adapted from her recipe. So here it is - an old time favorite that my children and all of my friends seem to enjoy just as much as we do.
What you’ll need:
1-2 Tbs Olive oil
About 2 cups of chopped onions
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbs basil
1 Tbs oregano
2 pounds of fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped
5-6 cloves or garlic, minced
3 Tbs flour
About 1 pound feta, crumbled
1 cup of cottage cheese
Phyllo - defrosted
Additional olive oil for Phyllo
What you’ll do:
Pre-heat oven to 375. Oil a 9X13 baking dish.
Heat olive oil in a large sautépan. Add onions, salt, basil, oregano and sauté for about 5 minutes or until onions are soft. Add spinach a handful at a time, cook for about 8-10 minutes. Stir in garlic.
Sprinkle in flour, stir in and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place a sheet of Phyllo in the oiled dish. Brush lightly with oil and add another sheet. Continue this process until you have 6-8 sheets, this will give you a nice crisp bottom layer. Add half the filling, spreading it evenly over the entire sheets of Phyllo. Then add 6-8 more layers of Phyllo followed by the remaining filling. Layer the remaining Phyllo over the filling. Oil top and cook uncovered for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve hot and top with Tsaziki.