Updated: Feb 22
Italian flavors fused with a Greek backbone; this is a perfect spinach pie. I use the classic flake of phyllo dough but load the insides with a bunch of green and lots of textural layers for your taste buds. Baked golden with a moist filling (but not soggy interior or bottom crust), this might become your favorite spinach pie!
I've struggled finding a great spinach pie that doesn't use feta or faux feta to get the zing that balances and brings this whole dish together. That problem is solved with my use of vinegar marinated ingredients with artichokes and the golden raisins. Interestingly enough, both help texture and the flavors by balancing brine with sugar notes.
Be sure to be liberal (when I note) for the oil on the phyllo dough as it's essential for the upper crust, and be not afraid of the thin and (sometimes finicky) phyllo! When you are ready to layer, just go with it my friend - nothing needs to be perfect. This is a rustic and humble dish that doesn't want to be perfect. It's old world with a modern twist - so we can keep it simple! Several of my layers wrinkled, ripped or landed "weird" in my pan. I think it ultimately aided in the lightness of the pie and no one was the wiser when served.
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil (plus more for phyllo dough layers)
1 Spanish onion (minced)
3-4 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 medium-large zucchini (chopped - skin on) or 2 small zucchinis
1 (16-oz) jar whole roasted marinated artichokes (drained & chopped)
1 container baby spinach & arugula mix (~5 oz), or any combination of baby greens!
2 tsp arrowroot powder
salt & pepper (to taste)
1/3 cup pine nuts (toasted)
1 handful basil (chopped)
1/2 package phyllo dough (thawed) - take package from fridge right as you start the recipe, it should be warm enough for use (as we do here) by the time your filling is done.
Put phyllo dough out on counter to "warm" slightly
In a small bowl, mix raisins and red wine vinegar - set aside to soak
In a Dutch oven (or heavy bottom large pot), heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once it shimmers, add onion and a pinch of salt & pepper and sauté (stirring infrequently) until golden (~7 minutes)
Add reserved raisins (with any remaining liquid), garlic, zucchini and artichokes along with another pinch of salt & pepper, and sauté another 3-5 minutes until fragrant and softened.
Add spinach & arugula in handfuls; stirring between each until slightly wilted - then add the next and the next until all greens are in the oven.
Simmer ~10 minutes until liquid starts to release from the vegetables and about half has evaporated. Stir in the arrowroot powder until thickens slightly; taste (add more salt & pepper if desired). Remove from heat.
While you are simmering the filling, add pine nuts to a small skillet and heat over medium-high heat for ~4 minutes or until nuts start to brown and become fragrant. Remove from heat immediately and shake nuts to distribute / prevent burning.
Once filling is done (and off heat), stir in basil and toasted pine nuts.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F and let filling cool slightly.
While oven heats / filling cools, spray a 9 x 13 glass pan liberally with cooking spray. Unwrap phyllo dough and add 2 sheets pressing down and up the sides (slightly) of your pan (it's okay if it wrinkles, rips or tears - just "squish together" and keep going!). Spray liberally with cooking spray, add another 2 sheets of dough. Repeat until you have 4 layers (2 sheets each) of dough / cooking spray.
Add filling to your "crust" bottom and spread to edges.
Now, grab your olive oil and get ready to go quick here: place 1 sheet of dough over the top of the filling and tuck in the sides (do this well so that the filling is "enclosed" in your pie). Drizzle olive oil over the dough and spread with brush (or fingers - fingers are more gentle!) to edges. Add another phyllo layer and repeat the oil and "tuck" process. Continue to do this method until you have stacked 5 sheets and ended on olive oil.
Slide your pan into the oven and cook for ~45 minutes or until the top starts to crackle and is a lovely golden color.
Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes; now you can cut in the pan, or (like I did) slide your pie out of the pan and cut into 8 rectangles with a pizza cutter.
Serve warm with fruit or a simple tomato basil-salad (tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic).
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and I'd love to hear from you!
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie