Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Italian Pie

"Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh....? And a little bit o' wine. An' a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick." -Clemenza, The Godfather

This is the way I feel about this pie... heh... it's just what you do. Throw it all in, this and that, and that's my trick. Only problem is that, sadly, I'll never be as cool as this guy because I'm simply not Italian, it's not my nona's recipe and I'm not a cast member of The Godfather...

but this made me feel preeettty darn close! And it will for you, too. ;)
No better way to finish out British Pie Week than with a big Italian BANG! Just to give you a head's up, yes, this is a pie because we do use phyllo dough and bake it, but it's really like eating a giant casserole of noodle-less pasta... and it's AMAzing.

You'll Need:

  • 5 chicken tenderloins or 2-3 breasts, cooked and shredded. I did mine over medium heat in a little olive oil in a skillet with the lid on for 15 minutes if that helps.
  • half an onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach
  • handful fresh basil, plus extra for garnishing
  • your favorite marinara sauce, homemade or good quality store bought
  • greek yogurt
  • a splash of port wine
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs. I made my own, just crumbled and chopped a piece of our whole wheat bread, added a good sprinkling of italian herbs and seasoned salt and mixed it all together.
  • FRESH mozzarella... makes all the difference
  • phyllo dough, only a few sheets... i was working with pathetic leftover bits and it still worked.
Right! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your frozen chopped spinach in a bowl, finely chop your basil and toss it together. Set it aside and in a saucepan, drizzle some olive oil and toss in your onions and garlic and saute until smelling amazing.

While those are sauteing, get your breadcrumbs ready if you're making your own. 
Make sure to really rub the seasoning into the crumbs with your fingers.
Now that your onions and garlic are beautiful, let's add in the spinach and basil mixture and a splash of that port wine. Give this a minute to saute and let the water melt away from that spinach, don't worry about it looking a little watery, you'll need some liquid for the sauce anyways. Once that port is smelling delicious, add in as many sun-dried tomatoes as you feel fit.. I'm personally obsessed with them and think they add such a distinctive flavor I probably added two handfuls worth... but do what you think! Mix it all around.
Now add in your marinara sauce... remember, you're going to be adding all that chicken so you want to make sure you have enough sauce for it to still be 'saucy' and not too chunky. Let that simmer and all the flavors of your sauteed goodness infuse into that sauce. While that's simmering, let's lay the groundwork of phyllo to your baking dish. I literally had crumbled pieces to use, but it still worked fine. Lay the pieces as flat as you can get them and drizzle with olive oil.
for real i mean shreds, here... so don't feel discouraged if you've ripped yours to pieces, it'll work!
Now let's add in your chicken and a big dollop of greek yogurt... toss it in and stir it until well combined, turn the heat down and let it get yummy for another 5 minutes.
Now we start layering. Layer about half the mixture on top of that phyllo. Top with more flakes of phyllo, a little drizzle of olive oil and top with the rest of your mixture. Top again with phyllo, a little drizzle of oil and let's get ready to decorate the top!
Slice your mozzarella and cover the top... just remember, fresh mozzarella REALLY melts beautifully so don't overdo it. You want to MOSTLY cover the top, but leave room for melting to cover a few holes so you're not cheesin' yourself out. Then top each bit of mozzarella with a fresh basil leaf and sprinkle your breadcrumbs all over the top. Lightly finish it off with a drizzle of olive oil and pop it in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the crumbs are golden and you've got a few browned bits of cheese.
Pour yourself a glass of red wine, turn on The Godfather and enjoy... and yes, we served this all by itself. Didn't need any accompaniment. ;)
 Godere! (enjoy in Italian)

And thanks for celebrating British Pie Week with us!! On to the next adventure!


1 comment:

  1. Sidney...your posts are both mouth-watering and absolutely FUN! You are so talented in so many different ways...I'm truly amazed and proud of who you've become...wife, homemaker, celebrity chef, blogger, incredible singer/recording artist...worship leader...and precious daughter! love