My wife Irene comes from a long line and a large community of Greek cooks, and everyone has their favorite recipe for spanakopita. Almost every time I make it, I seem to change one or more ingredients or proportions to suit the mood of the day. But the version we keep coming back to over and over again is this one, adapted from a recipe that contributor Katy Stacey provided for the cookbook of the ladies’ Philoptochos society of the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Andover, Massachusetts. I added a third layer of fillo in the middle and substituted butter in place of oil to brush the fillo sheets. I also used real Greek mizithra cheese.
Our friends Igor and Natasha from Moscow will recognize this from the time they visited us in 2004 and we staged a traditional Greek blowout extravaganza for them.
1 large onion, chopped
24 oz. frozen, chopped spinach
1/2 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
2 cups cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated mizithra or Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. snipped parsley
4 eggs, beaten
1 bunch dill, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb. fillo pastry
1/2 to 3/4 cup butter, melted (or use olive oil)
1. Thaw the spinach, drain well, and squeeze to remove excess water. Sauté onion lightly in 2 Tbsp oil.
2. Combine the spinach, cheeses, parsley, seasonings, and onion. Stir in the eggs.
3. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9” x 13” pan with butter. Lay one fillo sheet in the pan and brush lightly with butter. Repeat this procedure until 6-8 fillo sheets have been placed in the pan. Spread half of the spinach mixture evenly over the fillo. Then add three more sheets of fillo, spreading each with butter. Spread the remaining spinach mixture in the pan and finish by adding 8-10 more fillo sheets on top, spreading each with butter.
4. Cut the top layer of fillo into 12 serving-size pieces with a sharp knife. Then bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for about 1 hour.