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SPANAKOPITTA (SPINACH AND CHEESE PIE)

1 kg (2 lb 2 oz) spinach
1 onion, finely chopped
4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil plus 6 more if using it to brush the pastry
4 tablespoons dill or parsley, finely chopped
4 eggs
250 g (9 oz) feta cheese
2 tablespoons kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese, grated
large pinch of nutmeg
pepper
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) filo pastry
125 g (4= oz) melted butter (optional)

Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F / gas mark 5.

First make the filling. Tear off tough spinach stems and wash the
leaves thoroughly. Drain and squeeze out the water, then shred the
leaves. In a large saucepan gently fry the onion and spring onions
in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the spinach and dill or parsley.
Put the lid on and cook over low heat for a few minutes until the
spinach crumples to a soft mass. Then take off the lid and stir
until the liquid has evaporated. Allow to cool. Drain and press
out any remaining juice.

Beat the eggs lightly in a bowl. Add the feta cheese, mashed with
a fork, and the kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese, the spinach mixture,
nutmeg and pepper, and stir well. Brush a rectangular baking tin
with oil or melted butter. The tin should be about 38 x 28 cm (15
x 11 in) or a little smaller than the sheets of filo. Place half
the sheets of filo at the bottom, one on top of another. Brush each
sheet with oil or melted butter and let the edges come up and hang
over the sides of the tin. Spread the filling evenly on top, fold
over the edges of the filo pastry and cover with the remaining
filo, tucking the edges down the side of the tin. Brush each sheet
- and the top one generously - with oil or melted butter. Cut the
pie into squares or diamonds with a sharp knife, but do not cut
through to the bottom (only about half-way) or the filling will
leak into the pan.

Bake for about 1 hour or until the pie is crisp, golden and puffed
up. Cut the squares or diamonds right through to the bottom and
serve hot.

Serves 8.

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