Mama’s Spinach Ricotta Pie
For each pie we will need:
- 1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package), room temperature
- 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped into small pieces
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
- 8 ounce mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs, beaten to blend
- 1 cup plain yogurt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fold out the pie crust once it has come to almost room temperature. I do encourage the more industrious and baking inclined amongst you to make your own pie crust. It certainly is better homemade. But I wanted to cook this spinach ricotta pie on a weeknight, and I’m still not all that adept at baking, so I’m going to opt for the pre-made dough.
As you roll out the crust into the dish, fix any cracks or tears with a water-moistened finger and push the dough back together. Sprinkle a little flour all over one side of the crust and place it floured side down in a 9 inch pie pan. A glass or ceramic pan will brown the crust evenly without burning it.
Now take out a nice big cast iron skillet and melt the butter over a medium heat. Add in the onions and sauté, stirring, until they turn translucent and tender. Meanwhile, make sure the spinach is thawed and squeezed out in a colander as dry as possible. We don’t want a soggy pie!
When the onions are sautéed, stir in the spinach, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Continue to sauté the mixture until any extra liquid from the spinach evaporates, which should only take a few more minutes. Then set the pan aside.
Now beat the eggs in the bottom of a large bowl. Add in the ricotta, mozzarella, and parmasean and mix until uniform. Add in the spinach on onions mixture and blend well. Now scoop in the filling into the pie pan. No need to par-bake the dough for this type of pie.
Fill the crust until it is within ½ inch of the rim. Now spoon in the plain yogurt and smooth it out evenly over the whole pie. Finally, generously sprinkle the yogurt with paprika, which will brown nicely and add some color in the oven.
Speaking of which, let’s pop this puppy into the oven for about 40 miunutes, until the filling is set and doesn’t jiggle too much when gently shaken. The yogurt should have browned a bit and lost enough of its moisture to form a few cracks. When the pie is done, let it stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting into slices and serving.
So there you have the classic spinach ricotta pie recipe. But I happen to have a nice bunch of local leeks and shallots, which both have a sweeter taste than regular onions, so we’ll use a bit of each. I also have some local goat parmesan and feta, which will make an awesome addition. Feel free to try out this recipe using other greens or even other veggies, so long as they don’t have too much moisture.