Monday, June 8, 2009

Green Ricotta Pie

Use whatever greens suit your taste that are in largest supply in your garden. I used a mixture of Siberian kale, lamb's-quarters and marjoram instead of spinach (left to right in picture). Swiss chard goes well but mine is not yet mature. Greens are excellent sources of anti-oxidants and vitamins A and C. They also provide nice amounts of calcium, iron and protein. Once cooked the calcium becomes more available to the body.

The original version of this recipe is Spinach Ricotta Pie from the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen (p. 123). That book is one of my favourites and I even have two copies as the first one is literally falling apart. I am showing you a picture of the cover as many people get confused about WHICH Moosewood cookbook I am referring to. The Moosewood has been one of my staple vegetarian cookbooks for more than 20 years. If you don't have one you can buy a copy online for less than 20 bucks.... Mollie's early recipes tended to be high in fat but it isn't hard to reduce. For instance, instead of using her pastry crust with butter I have used spelt fillo (phyllo)for the pastry and healthier olive oil. This recipe is gluten-free but can obviously be made with wheat fillo and flour.

The recipe makes one 25 cm/10 inch deep dish pie (1.5 L capacity) - or 2 of the shallow 23 cm/9 inch pie plates. Serve hot, warm or cold. Narrow slices go well as appetizers.... sort of like the Greek spanakopita which is also in the Moosewood.

6 cups greens of your choice (e.g., kale, young lamb's  quarters, spinach, Swiss chard) - 1.5 liters - about 450 grams
2 cups onions, diced - 500 ml
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil - 10 ml
1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground - .6 ml
1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper - 2.5 ml
6 eggs, medium
12 ounces ricotta cheese, firm - about 360 grams
1 cup old cheddar cheese, grated - 250 ml
3 Tbsp buckwheat or other flour - 45 ml
1 cup organic sour cream - 250 ml
6 sheets organic spelt fillo/phyllo dough
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil - 30 ml
Sweet paprika and poppy seeds to decorate top

1. Remove woody stems from the lamb's-quarters and marjoram and wash under cold water. Set side to drain. Saute the greens, with the diced onions in a little olive oil until just wilted. I used smaller onions and their green tops that over wintered in the garden and are growing again. Sprinkle with nutmeg and black pepper.

2. To make the filling beat the eggs in a large bowl and add crumbled ricotta cheese, grated old cheddar and buckwheat flour and mix well. Fold in the wilted greens.

3. To assemble, remove fillo sheets from package. Return remainder to box and refrigerate for another use. Paint bottom of pie plate with olive oil and top with fillo sheets. Stagger sheets around plate so they hang over and can be drawn up and over top filling to encase the pie. Use a pastry brush to sprinkle olive oil between sheets as you go. The oil heats and expands during baking helping the fillo to be crispier but don't over do it as you don't want the pie to be greasy. Spread filling over filo and then spread sour cream evenly over top. Draw sheets up and over filling towards centre of pie. Use your brush to spread a bit of oil over top of sheets. Sprinkle with sweet paprika and poppy seeds for a decorative affect.

4. Bake pie in preheated 350'F oven for 45-60 minutes or until top is lightly browned and filling is set. I have a gas (propane) oven that tends to bake a bit slow and it took 60 minutes.

The ricotta I used was L'Ancetre organic ricotta (7% MF) that is made in Quebec and distributed by Gypsy Whole Foods Warehouse. They are listed on my blog. I also bought the organic spelt fillo dough from them. Go to for more recipes so you can finish up your box!
I place frozen phyllo dough in refrigerator for 7-8 hours or overnight to thaw.

NUTRITION FACTS (per 1/10th pie or approximately 200 gram piece):300 calories, 18 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 135 mg cholesterol, 190 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre, 2 g sugar, 15 g protein. %Daily Values are 80% vitamin A, 90% vitamin C, 30% calcium and 10% iron.

1 comment:

Tracy Butler said...

I love that cookbook, too. I should pick up another copy as my little boy got into the recipe drawer and now it's gone. Thanks for posting this.