A VEGETARIAN for Thanksgiving??? Not a problem. This pie is beautiful, fancy and rich—you may have trouble keeping the carnivores away. If you have never used phyllo dough, DO NOT be intimidated! It's easy to work with. It does take a little extra time, what with brushing on oil, but the end result is SO worth it.
SQUASH & ARUGULA PIE
WHAT YOU NEED:
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, I used Olive Mill Chili Olive Oil
1 small onion
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, more or less, I used Olive Mill Chili Oil
10-12 oz arugula (that's about 2 "boxes" from the store), more or less
2 big cloves garlic, or 3 medium cloves
1 ½ cups cooked, mashed and cooled butternut squash (you could even use frozen if you wanted to go simple, and it doesn't have to be cold, it's just better if it's not super hot when you add the eggs)
½ cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
½ tsp nutmeg
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled (about 4 ounces)
Freshly ground pepper, I used a good dose of Everything Nice Long Pepper
1 package frozen phyllo dough (the sheets, NOT the pre-formed cups)
½ cup (or more depending on your brushing) Olive Mill Extra Virgin Olive Oil, either Tuscan Herb, Basil, or Blood Orange—all are delicious in this recipe!
Three healthy pinches of Everything Nice Hawaiian Black Lava Salt
One Healthy Pinch of Everything Nice Red Allea Sea Salt
2 TBS Sesame seeds
A garlic press (or a good knife and some patience)
A pastry brush
A 9 x 11 " casserole dish
WHAT YOU DO:
-Saute onions in chili olive oil until translucent. Using garlic press, press garlic into pan (or just toss it in if you are hand-chopping) and saute for thirty seconds more, until you can smell the garlic. Put onions and garlic into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
-Saute arugula in chili olive oil. You may need to do this in two batches (I did), depending on the size of the pan. Add the arugula to the mixing bowl with the onions.
-Add to the mixing bowl: squash, mint, parsley, nutmeg and eggs, and stir like crazy til it's all mixed in. Then add feta and mix that in, too, along with freshly ground pepper to taste. Set aside.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Pour your choice of Olive Oil into a small bowl and open the first pack of phyllo dough (there will be two packs in the box—you'll use one for the top layer, and one for the bottom.
-Carefully roll out the dough and work quickly. Brush the bottom and sides of the pan lightly with oil. For a simple version of working the dough, just place a layer of phyllo in the pan and brush with oil. Place another on top of it and brush with oil. Repeat until you've used up the first package of dough. This will make a pie with one layer of dough on bottom and one on top. However, I prefer a slightly more complicated version, where the sides of the pan are lined, too, and the filling is encased. If you want to try this one (it's easy to do, just hard to explain), do this: Place your pan in a "portrait" orientation (so the smaller side of the rectangle faces you). Lay two sheets of phyllo dough next to each other in the pan in "landscape" orientation (with the long side facing you), so that the phyllo sheets go up and over the edge of the pan. Brush with oil. Lay the next sheet in "portrait" orientation across the other two. Brush with oil. For the next layer, two sheets again in "landscape" orientation. Brush with oil. Then back to one sheet in "portrait". Repeat until you've used the first package of dough.
-When you are working with the dough, don't worry if you rip or wrinkle a sheet, or if it's not placed perfectly. This dough is very forgiving when baked, and will just look absolutely gorgeous and taste incredible, even if you feel you are mangling it as you are laying it.
-Spread the filling from the mixing bowl into the pan.
-If you did the fancy bottom layer, fold the overhanging edges back over the filling. Then open the second package of phyllo and top the whole thing with the first sheet. Brush with Oil. Next sheet. Brush with oil. Repeat until done, TRYING to make the sheet on the very top kind of perfectly laid (but no big deal if you mess it up, it will still be gorgeous). Brush the top with oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Then sprinkle with the salts (this gives it a gorgeous sprinkle of color and adds a ton of flavor in the final product).
-Bake for one hour, until internal temperature reads 165 degrees, and top is golden brown. Can be made ahead, baked, and then reheated for the big day.