(adapted from Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen)
Makes 4-6 servings
8 ounces (1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, chilled
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
4 – 5 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon butter
½ yellow onion, diced small
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and the water squeezed out
1 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or chiffonade
15 ounces ricotta (whole milk or low fat)
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
To make the crust: combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple times to combine. Add the butter and mix just until but butter and flour is combined and becomes crumbly, approximately 13 seconds. Next, through the processor’s feed tube, add the lemon juice. With the processor running, slowly add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a smooth, pliable ball, no more than 30 to 40 seconds.
After the dough is combined, form it into a round disk and wrap in plastic and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. (You don’t want the dough to get too warm or soft before rolling it out, but it’s easier to handle if the dough isn’t dead cold out of the fridge.)
On a lightly floured pastry sheet or board, hit the dough a couple times with a rolling pin to make it a little more pliable. Then, roll out the dough from the center, turning it a quarter turn each time, until it’s approximately 12 inches in diameter. Carefully, fold the dough in half and place it on one half of a 9- to 10-inch pie plate. Unfold the other half and press the dough into and up the sides of the plate. Trim any excessive dough that hangs over the edge of the plate, fold it under and then flute or crimp the edge, as you like. Place the pie shell in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a medium-size sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the spinach, salt, pepper, and basil, and cook until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a medium-size bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, and Parmesan cheese. Then, add in the spinach mixture and stir until combined. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell, spreading out evenly to the edges of the dish. Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch. Serve hot or at room temperature.