Nettle Spanakopita



2 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown long-grain rice
3 quarts fresh nettle tops
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 package of phyllo dough at room temperature
8 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring water to boil, add salt and rice, cover and simmer over low heat until tender (about 45 minutes for brown rice). Drain if necessary.

While the rice is cooking, place nettle tops in top of steamer and steam for about 15 minutes, or until completely wilted. Pour cooked nettles into a sieve and press with a wooden spoon to get rid of any excess water. Chop nettles. Set aside.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil, add chopped onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Stir in fresh herbs. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese with eggs and grated Parmesan. Add rice and nettles. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the phyllo under a damp towel to prevent it from drying out, and work quickly. If exposed to air, the phyllo will become dry, brittle and unworkable. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Place a layer of phyllo on the bottom of the dish and using a pastry brush, lightly coat phyllo with the butter. Repeat until you have used half the package of phyllo.

Pour the filling over the phyllo and sprinkle the feta on top. Place a layer of phyllo over the filling and butter lightly. Repeat until you have used all the phyllo. With a sharp knife, cut into diamond-shaped pieces before baking.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a light golden brown.

Serve with a salad of lightly dressed baby greens.

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