Here's another entry for the "tasty but ugly" file. There are so many posts that fit that category on this site, I should probably consider it as a new title for the blog!
I can't even show you what this Spinach Pie looked like on a plate because it was such a mess! But as I sit here enjoying leftovers for lunch, I can't get over how yummy it is so I need to record the simple and healthy recipe.
Over a year ago, Frank and I were staying with his parents in St. Louis for his brother's wedding. I was perusing a coffee table photo book about the history of St. Louis, which I find to be a culturally-diverse and fun city with some really great food traditions. When I got to the section in the book about "The Hill" (the neighborhood settled by Italian immigrants), there was this recipe for Spinach Pie. It looked so healthy and simple, I wrote the recipe down in the Notes app on my phone. I've glanced at it occasionally ever since.
Last night, with Frank digging in the garden and me lounging on the patio swing, I decided it was time to try this recipe. It's crammed with three boxes of frozen spinach, so it's super iron-packed. And of course the Italian version of the recipe calls for fresh ricotta (pronounced by my father-in-law as "ree-GOAT-ah"), but I had only cottage cheese in my fridge (do not tell the aforementioned father-in-law this!) and it worked just fine.
This pie is a cross between a quiche, soufflé, and casserole, made with simple and basic ingredients in one bowl. Hard to beat, especially for busy working adults and/or parents. As I was eating this ugly food last night, the constant thought that kept flitting through my mind (other than "yum!") was, "this would be a great way to get a toddler to eat spinach!"
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1.25 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 cup red sauce (this is the Italian way of saying pasta/spaghetti/marinara sauce).
3 boxes frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1.5 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Saute onion in olive oil. Add to a large bowl with all the other ingredients. Mix well. Pour into greased baking dish. Bake 75 minutes.
Serve with extra red sauce and grated cheese.