Deborah: That spinach pie you made? So good. And even though I don’t care so much for cheese, I didn’t mind it in the pie. I just love your pie.
Gabriella: Uh huh.
D: It had kind of a kick to it, innit? Did you put some kind of hot spice in there?
D: It was definitely spicy.
G: Must have been because I used romano instead of parmigiano.
(Gabriella can only say Italian words with an Italian accent, and I am required by law to make her repeat herself for the sake of my own amusement.)
D: You used what?
G: Romano. Instead of the parmigiano.
D: Ah, there it is. Italian. You never speak to me in Italian. That’s all I’m going to get, isn’t it? Romano and parmigiano?
D: You won't even answer me with a “si?” C’mon. Tell me you love me so very much.
G: I love you so very much.
D: In Italian!
G: I’m busy.
D: You’re putting the spinach pie away. You can’t speak to me in Italian while you’re putting your pie away? I hate when you put your pie away.
D: Tell me that you love how I make you laugh – in Italian.
G: Tsst. Italians (and probably people from other Mediterranean countries) make this staccato teeth-sucking sound with lips puckered punctuated by a finger wave to indicate an answer of “no.”
D: Talk about bait & switch! When I first met you, you were always speaking with your parents on the phone in Italian. I thought for sure I had found someone who would speak to me in Italian and teach our unborn children another language. You don’t even cook Italian food anymore. Isn’t spinach pie Greek?
G: We spoke Sicilian at home.
D: Then speak to me in Sicilian!
Gabriella puts the spinach pie in the refrigerator and heads upstairs without acknowledging my request.
D: You’re not off the hook! Would it kill you to say one sentence to me? Such a small thing I ask, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. You should say something to me in Italian. Anything!!
And from the top of the steps, in a faraway voice, my Italian bride called down to me.
D: Very funny.
Gabriella’s pie recipe
3 lbs. frozen chopped spinach (thaw and squeeze dry)
1 ½ onions – sauté until translucent in 2 tbsp olive oil
8 oz. feta cheese – crumbled
½ cup bread crumbs or panko
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup pine nuts
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 ½ cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
¼ to ½ cup very cold water
Put flour, sugar & salt in food processor and pulse to mix thoroughly. Add 1 stick of butter and pulse about 8 times. Add the other stick of butter and pulse another 8 times. Add water a tablespoon at a time in between pulsing until dough becomes small crumbles. Place dough onto floured table. Form into 2 balls and cover with plastic rap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°
Beat eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well but careful not to break up feta too much. Roll out one pastry ball to a very thin crust. Cover the bottom or baking tray with pastry 12 inch round or pan. Pour in spinach and cover with the other rolled out pastry. Brush top with melted butter. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
As Gabriella wouldn't say....buon appetito!