So called because it is a far-flung variation of a cottage pie with Italian influences. It tastes so good that it can be served either for a family lunch or at an informal dinner party and needs only a green salad as an accompaniment. The pie has a moistening layer of spinach between the topping and the minced pork.
Peel the parsnips if necessary. Peel the potatoes. Chop both up roughly, cutting the potatoes quite a lot smaller than the parsnips. Boil in salted water until they are both soft. Drain and mash thoroughly in a bowl, adding the ground cumin and
Spoon the mixture into a large, rather shallow ovenproof dish and pat level. Chop the spinach leaves very finely and spread them on top of the meat. Whisk the egg thoroughly with a fork and mix it into the mashed parsnip mixture with a wooden spoon. Spread this mixture on top of the spinach layer and make flicks or patterns with a fork. Trickle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Cook the pie on the centre shelf of the oven for 40-50 minutes, until a deep golden brown.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.