Leek-and-Cheese Matzoh Pie

Mina di Prasa con Queso

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

    as a Main Course

Appears in

Minas are Passover pies, lasagnelike pastries using soaked matzoh in place of pasta. They can be filled with vegetables, cheeses, or meat. Early recipes advise a soaking time that would be too long for our crackerlike matzohs. The handmade matzohs of Greece and Italy were often round and were much thicker and harder than our delicate and crisp factory-made ones. The time it takes for our matzohs to soften without disintegrating is about 3 minutes. Often they are soaked in water and then dipped in egg, which is impossible to do if they have fallen apart. Some recipes call for soaking the matzohs in water, beating the eggs, and then pouring the eggs over the too.

Ingredients

  • 5 medium leeks
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, vegetable oil or margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup ½ pound) ricotta or farmer cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 4 matzohs
  • 1⅓ cups grated kashkaval or gruyere cheese (about 5 ounces)

Method

Cut away the root ends from the leeks and most of the green part and discard. Peel away any loose layers, cut the leeks in half lengthwise, and then cut crosswise into thin slices. If the leeks are very fat, coarsely-chop them. Soak the leeks in a sink full of cold water, swish them around to loosen any dirt, remove with a slotted spoon, and drain well in a colander. You will have about cups chopped leeks.

Warm the butter, oil, or margarine in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and onion and cook, stirring often, until the leeks are very tender,

to 20 minutes, adding water as needed to help soften them. Make sure that all of the water has evaporated by the time the leeks are ready. If it has not, drain them well. Remove from the heat, cool, and mix in the ricotta or farmer cheese, 2 of the eggs salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste, and dill.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil an 8-inch square baking pan.

Beat the remaining egg in a shallow bowl large enough to hold a matzoh. Put cold water in another bowl. Soak the matzoh in the water for about 3 minutes, then drain. Dip the matzoh in the egg, then place in the prepared baking pan. Repeat, using enough additional matzah to fill in any spaces in the pan. Sprinkle with cup of the grated cheese, and top with the leek mixture. Dip the remaining matzohs in water for about 3 minutes, drain, and then dip in the egg and place on the leek mixture. Top with the rest of the grated cheese. Bake the pie until browned, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.

Variation

Use 1 to 2 pounds spinach, cooked and chopped, in place of the leeks or in addition to them. This will make the filling wetter, however, so you may need to add 1 cup mashed potatoes and increase the grated cheese to ½ pound.