You might have noticed that we have a penchant for spinach. We eat it in just about every other meal and have several recipes for spanakopita including mini triangular spanakopitas made with puff pastry and authentic, traditional spanakopita in phyllo dough.
While rummaging through the kitchen recently, we realized that we needed to move some stuff. We found leftover phyllo dough from our New Years Eve party, cashews and sun-dried tomatoes from a shrimp dish we recently prepared, and frozen spinach. So we decided to throw in some ricotta salata (for a change) and jazz up our traditional spanakopita. It was delish! The tomatoes cut through the creaminess and saltiness of the cheese, and the cashews add a nice crunch. Here’s how it’s done:
What You’ll Need (1 9×9 pyrex dish. About 4-6 servings):
- 1/2 large yellow onion
- 1 package of chopped frozen spinach. About 10 oz. defrosted.
- 1-2 cups of crumbled ricotta salata. (You can substitute any cheese here, if desired)
- 1/2 cup of sliced sun-dried tomatoes (rehydrated at least 30 minutes in water, or over night)
- 1/2 cup of cashews (roughly chopped)
- 10-15 sheets of phyllo dough, defrosted.
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
- oil (olive, canola, or vegetable)
- melted butter
- 9×9 pyrex dish
- small frying pan
- mixing bowl
- wooden spoon or spatula
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat up a little olive oil (1-2 tbsp is good) on low or med-low heat in a small frying pan. Finely dice the yellow onion. The smaller the better. Toss them in the pan, and cook for 2 minutes or until soft and translucent. Put in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Drain the defrosted spinach. Try to get out as much liquid as possible. We suggest using a pasta strainer and pushing down with your hand or a wooden spoon to get the excess water out. You don’t want soggy spanakopita, so this step is important! When its good to go, put it in the mixing bowl with the onions. Add in the sliced sun-dried tomatoes, chopped cashews, and crumbled ricotta salata.
Mix thoroughly. Personally, we like to get our hands dirty and squish it all around. Just make sure you wash your hands before (and after) you do this. Otherwise, use tongs to fold everything together.
Make an egg wash: 1 egg whisked with a splash of water. Set aside.
Use a large brush and coat the bottom and sides of the pyrex dish with the melted butter.
Unroll the dough. Hint: Handle phyllo with care. It’s very delicate. If necessary, use a sharp knife to gently cut the dough into the appropriate size for your pyrex dish. (Ours was a little big.) When not in use, place a damp towel over top to keep it moist.
Place 1 sheet into the pyrex dish and use the brush to gently spread some melted butter on top. Repeat with about 5 sheets.
Spoon the spinach mix onto the dough.
Repeat step 4 with 5. Then brush the top with the egg wash. Pop it into the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!