It’s always a special occasion when we serve this dish for weekend brunch.
We’ve got spring and brunch on our minds lately and we’re thinking of how we can start to make that transition with some recipes that make us think of both. Our ricotta spinach pie bake was one of the recipes that came to mind. This dish is perfect for Sunday brunch, especially one where you’re feeding guests, family, and friends. A big slice of this rich and creamy casserole served on a lovely spring morning is just about as good as it gets.
Here’s how we make the filling. Sautéed onions and garlic (always a good combo) are added to a generous amount of ricotta and pecorino romano cheese. Because we had some extra time, we went with a homemade crust and it is just as flaky and wonderful as can be. If you’ve got your own recipe, by all means, make what you love best! Our crust is scratch-made, but it’s possible to use short cuts to save yourself some time, and that’s why a store-bought pie crust comes through in a pinch.
In about an hour, our beautiful brunch casserole is ready to grace the brunch table. A buttery crust and hearty green spinach pair beautifully with the creamy ricotta filling, and all that’s left to do is to sit down and enjoy a wonderful meal. We let the dish rest for a few minutes to allow the cheesy filling to set up a bit before we grab a knife and carve out a slice. Just look at how the creamy-cheese filling is speckled with flecks of hearty spinach – yummy-yum! This is a dish that is beautiful to behold, delicious to eat, and perfect for a brunch with family and friends.
Ricotta Spinach Pie Bake
Serves 8-10; 1 hour 30 minutes
- 2 (10 oz) packages frozen leaf spinach, thawed and drained
- 2 (15 oz) containers ricotta cheese
- 1 ½ cups Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ large yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- For the crust:
- 3 cups flour
- 2 sticks + 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened and cubed
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- Thaw frozen spinach then drain in a colander.
- Combine flour and butter in a large bowl, preferably with a pastry cutter, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Mix egg white, ¼ cup water, and vinegar together in a separate bowl. Add ⅓ of the wet ingredients to the dry and stir with a fork. Add more liquid in small increments until dough forms. Add extra water as needed.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Sauté onions in olive oil until softened and translucent. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Squeeze excess liquid from the spinach with a towel, then add to the onions and garlic. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Turn off heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Mix ricotta, pecorino romano, and lightly beaten eggs in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Roll out pie crust dough on floured surface to a width of approximately 11x15 inches (2 inches of extra dough all around). Carefully transfer the dough to the prepared 9x13-inch baking dish, pressing the dough into the pan so the edges rise up against the sides of the dish.
- Transfer spinach to the cheese and stir until well combined. Pour filling into prepared pie crust and spread evenly around the crust.
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the surface of the pie begins to turn a golden brown.
- Remove from oven to cool slightly and set before serving.
Recipe adapted from Cooking With Mamma C.