This savory Greek-style pie is traditional, #spinachandfeta. Getting Steve to eat any dish that’s filled with only spinach and cheese wouldn’t pique his interest so I thought I’d add sweet Italian sausage to this recipe. This is my Spinach And Feta Pie With Sweet Italian Sausage.
This recipe can totally be vegetarian by just leaving out the meat. You could even substitute mushrooms, that would be delicious too.
Dealing with phyllo dough may have you saying, that’s too much work. Yes, it can seem a bit overwhelming, trust me, it’s not hard at all.
The next step is to prepare the filling for this pie.
Score the Phyllo dough before baking.
Prep Time: 30 minutes for the filling
Prep Time: 30 minutes, assembling the dish
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Cooking Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Cook Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time: 25 hours 50 minutes
Yields: 12 Servings
Equipment: 1 (9 x 11) baking dish, paring knife, 2 large mixing bowls, mesh sieve, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan, small bowl, microwave-safe bowl, pastry brush, Microplane
Note: if you’re making this dish meat-free, substitute another 5 (10-ounce) boxes of frozen leafy spinach for a total of 8.
2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (meat is optional)
3 (10-ounce) boxes of frozen leafy spinach (thawed and all excess water removed)
1 diced onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
3 sprigs (2 teaspoons) of fresh marjoram or oregano, finely chopped
3 sprigs (2 teaspoons) of fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 fronds of fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
4 ounces of Goat cheese, crumbled
7 ounces of Feta cheese, cubed
1/3 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 box of Phyllo dough sheets (yields 2 rolls approx. 20 sheets of Phyllo total)
1 1/2 sticks of butter, unsalted and melted
1/4 cup of seasoned Italian bread crumbs
Preheat oven 350-degrees F.
Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 x 11 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Defrost and drain the frozen spinach overnight. The picture above shows the frozen spinach sitting in a mesh sieve over a large mixing bowl. Since the spinach is frozen solid it’s best to leave it out on the counter overnight. The next day, remove the bowl discarding the liquid. Using your hands, wring out any remaining water from the spinach.
If you were going to do this on the same day, defrost the spinach in the microwave, then let it cool down to where you could handle it, and squeeze the water out by hand. You could even place all the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out that way. Most importantly, get as much of the water out of the spinach as possible. Transfer the spinach to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a large dry sauté pan over medium-high heat, add sweet Italian sausage. Start breaking the sausage up with the back of a wooden spoon. Once the sausage is browned, about 10 to 15 minutes, add the diced onion, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, freshly grated nutmeg, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Continue cooking until the onions soften, another 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, leave as much of the grease behind in the pan, transferring the sausage mixture into the bowl containing the spinach. Let the sausage mixture cool completely before adding the cheese and eggs.
In another large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper together. Add the beaten eggs to the sausage and spinach mixture. Add the Goat cheese, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and cubed Feta to the sausage and spinach mixture. Gently stir to combine not to break up the cheese too much. The filling is done. Set aside.
Next, the Phyllo dough.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. In a small bowl add the bread crumbs. Set the two bowls in hands-reach when layering the phyllo dough.
Note: When working with Phyllo dough you need to move fairly quickly. to prevent the dough from drying out causing it to break or crack.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lay the Phyllo dough sheets out onto a flat surface covered with a damp towel.
Start by laying one sheet of Phyllo dough in the bottom of the baking dish. Liberally brush the sheet of Phyllo dough with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Continue this process until the first roll of Phyllo dough is complete, about 10 sheets.
Next, spoon the filling spreading evenly over the top of the Phyllo. Repeat the dough process with the remaining roll of Phyllo sheets for the top.
Finish the top layer with a final brushing of melted butter and breadcrumbs. Using a paring knife score the dough down the middle lengthwise, then twice in the opposite direction. Finally, score each square diagonally (refer to the picture above) forming triangles.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the dough, is flaky and golden brown. Allow the dish to rest 15 to 20 minutes giving the filling a chance to set before slicing.
There you have it, my Spinach And Feta Pie With Sweet Italian Sausage.