Spinach in Filo

Cook the spinach only briefly and ensure that all excess water is squeezed out.

Ingredients

  • 10–20 strands of spaghetti
  • 450 g/ 1 lb spinach
  • 60 g/ 2 oz butter, plus more for the baking sheet
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp sultanas, plumped overnight in a few spoonfuls of some suitable liquor, such as brandy
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • about 8 sheets of filo pastry

Method

Start by bringing a big pot of salted water to a fast boil. Put in the spaghetti and cook until just softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Pick over the spinach, discarding large stalks and any dodgy leaves. Plunge it into the boiling water and as soon as it wilts – about 30 seconds – drain in a colander, squeezing gently to remove as much water as you can.

Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat and add the pine nuts. Increase the heat slightly and fry the nuts until they just start to colour, stirring. Turn your back for an instant and they will burn and go bitter. Add the sultanas, nutmeg to taste, black pepper and red wine vinegar. Add the spinach off the heat and toss to coat. Reserve.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/ gas 5. Working with 1 sheet of filo pastry at a time, cut out six 15-cm / 6-inch circles using a plate or baking tin as a guide. Put one-sixth of the spinach mixture in the centre of each and draw up the edges to the middle. Tie shut with a piece of spaghetti as you would a shoelace.

Put on a lightly greased Swiss roll tin and bake for 10–15 minutes, when the filo should be crisp and golden.

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