Spinach and Ham Pie
For a delicious vegetarian version of this pie, simply omit the ham. From the book "Lucinda's Rustic Italian Kitchen," by Lucinda Scala Quinn.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 3 teaspoons coarse salt
- 3 (10-ounce) packages fresh spinach, stemmed and washed well, with water still clinging to the leaves
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten (1 reserved for egg wash)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces best-quality ham, cut in 1/4-inch cubes (optional)
To make the pastry, combine the butter and cream cheese in a food processor or standing mixer. Process until combined. Add the cream and process until combined. Add the flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and process until just combined and a ball forms. Turn it out onto a floured surface, divide into 2 pieces, and form into discs. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the spinach in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the leaves are wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the pot and set in a colander to drain until cooled. Squeeze it dry and chop; you should have 2 cups.
Meanwhile, place the olive oil and onion in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, 2 of the eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the remaining salt, and the pepper. Stir in the spinach, onion, and ham, if desired.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the dough edge to hang 1/4 inch over the sides. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over dough. Roll out the second piece of dough and drape over the spinach. Trim the dough to hang over the bottom crust by 1/2 inch. Fold the top crust over and inside the bottom.
Using your fingers, crimp the dough to seal. Cut a few vents in the top. Beat the remaining egg with a little water and brush lightly over the pie. Bake the pie for 1 hour or until it is golden brown. Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
SourceMad Hungry, March 2011