Spinach and ricotta filo pie


This was adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe that I found on another blogger’s site [here – there are some really helpful pictures]. I used ricotta instead of feta as it’s less salty for the baby and the idea was that it might appeal to the preschooler more, but as it happened she turned her nose up anyway. I forgot that the presence of ‘green stuff’ might be enough to seal the deal in that direction regardless of cheese. But hey, we were picnicking so it wasn’t the end of the world.

And I don’t even care because I LOVED it. Papa Swabey was surprisingly keen too. It’s not really his sort of thing – he wouldn’t order a vegetarian filo pie in a restaurant in a gazillion years – but he wolfed it down and came back for more.

Baby Swabey loved it too. Again, it’s messy, but I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that the baby, the house and my own hair will be slightly sticky for the next few months.

So three out of four aint bad. (Little Lady Swabey might have liked it too if she hadn’t been put off by the greenery. Maybe I’ll try again one day…)

The recipe originally came, apparently, from Jamie’s 30-minute meals. Needless to say, it took me considerably longer. If you’re doing this for the first time – checking the recipe, dealing with kids and whatnot – leave a good hour.

  • 100g pine nuts
  • 5 eggs
  • 200g ricotta cheese
  • 100g Cheddar cheese
  • dried oregano
  • 1 lemon
  • knob of butter
  • 400g pre-washed spinach
  • 1x 270g pack of filo pastry
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 whole nutmeg.
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C. Heat an ovenproof pan over a medium heat and lightly toast the pine nuts until they are just tinged brown. Remove from the pan and put to one side for a moment.
  2. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, beat, then blob in the ricotta cheese and grate in the Cheddar. Add a good grind of pepper and a couple of pinches of dried oregano. Then grate in the zest of 1 lemon and add a generous lug of extra virgin olive oil. Add pine nuts and mix.
  3. Put the same pan back over a medium flame and add a knob of butter and a glug of olive oil. Pile in half the spinach and move it around until it starts to wilt. Gradually add more and more as room becomes available, stirring frequently. Once the spinach has wilted, add it to the egg mixture and grate in half a nutmeg. Stir and put to one side.
  4. Take the filo out of the fridge and lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper (approx 50cm long) on a clean dry worktop. Rub a little olive oil over the paper, then scrunch it up and lay it out flat again. Arrange four sheets of filo pastry in a rectangle, overlapping a bit at the edges, so they almost cover the paper. Rub some olive oil over the sheets, then sprinkle over a pinch of cayenne pepper and season lightly. Repeat until you have two to three layers of filo.
  5. Carefully lift the greaseproof paper and filo over the empty pan and push the pastry down into the sides of the pan. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and spread it out. Fold over the edges of the filo pastry back over so that they completely cover the egg mixture and trim back some of the greaseproof paper.
  6. Put the pan back on the heat for a few minutes to start the bottom of pie cooking, then put the pan in the oven for 20 minutes or so until golden and crisp.
  7. Serve with salad for lunch or as part of a picnic or a party spread.

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