Spanakopita pasta.

Spanakopita pastaIt’s been a while since I’ve had Greek food. The last time that I could recall having Greek food was back on my vacation last year in Montreal at Marven’s, this wonderful family-run establishment in the town of St. Laurent. It was comforting, cheap on the wallet, and the portions were generous. Although I thoroughly enjoyed their huge, onion ring-sized calamari and tasty rib steak, I was disappointed (and much too full) that I didn’t get to try their spanakopita.

Spanakopita, or spinach pie, is one of my favourite Greek dishes. Spinach, dill, feta, onions and lemon are carefully contained in a delicate multilayered phyllo pastry that is rich, flaky and delicious. I wanted to recreate this flavour without mucking around with the fuss of buying and layering all that phyllo pastry.

The solution? Pasta. Duh. I present you with spanakopita pasta.

Spinach and feta work so well together but when you add dill to the mix, it just takes it to a whole another level. Add some caramelized onions in there and you’ve really got yourself a treat. With this recipe, I took a traditional Greek dish that I love and turned it into something even more delicious and filling (and carby!). Really, you can use any pasta in this recipe. I found that the rotini worked perfectly since its ridges were able to capture all the bits of dill, onion, feta cheese, and when wilted, the spinach. It makes for a quick, on-the-go lunch that takes a mere matter of minutes to make and assemble.
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What you’ll need:
– 750g whole wheat rotini (any pasta will do)
– 1/4 cup butter
– 1 yellow onion, sliced
– 6 garlic cloves, minced
– 1lb fresh baby spinach
– 1 cup fresh baby dill, chopped and packed
– 1 lemon, juice only
– Feta cheese, to taste

What you’ll need to do:
1. Cook your pasta according to packaged directions. Drain but do not rinse. Set aside in the pot it was cooked in or a very large serving/mixing bowl. Pasta should be hot.
2. While your pasta is cooking, caramelize your onions in butter over medium heat for 20 minutes in a large saucepan.
3. Add your garlic to the pan and cook for another minute.
4. Add 1/2 lb of spinach to the the pan with the onions and the other to the hot pasta.
5. Further cook the onions, garlic, and 1/2 lb of spinach for another 5 minutes and then toss with the rest of the spinach and pasta. The heat from the freshly cooked pasta and wilted spinach/caramelized onion mixture will cause the fresh spinach to wilt. I like to have some leafy bits in my pasta while I can.
6. Lastly, add the lemon juice and dill to the pasta mixture.
7. Serve with crumbled feta cheese. Makes 8-10 servings.

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