Because Sicily has an abundance of sheep grazing her hillsides, the Island is quite famous for its sheep milk cheeses. Ricotta Salata is one of them. Ricotta means “recooked” and is a cheese making process rather than a “type” of cheese.
Many Americans are familiar with ricotta that’s used in dishes like lasagna or desserts such as, ricotta cake, but this is not that kind of ricotta. I would say it is more like a feta, which you could use as a substitute. It’s slightly salty and has a firm texture that can be diced, crumbled or grated. I toss it in salads, add it to omelets and crumble over grilled veggies. For a tasty summer treat, shave a few ribbons over cubed watermelon.
- 8 frozen phyllo pastry leaves
- 1 bunch broccoli (2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 pound ricotta salata
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dash black pepper
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
Remove pastry leaves from freezer and let warm to room temperature according to package directions.
Wash broccoli, remove leaves and cut off ends. Slice the thick stalks length wise. Coarsely chop the stalks and florets.
Cook broccoli in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well.
In large skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter and saute onions unti golden. Add the broccoli, saute 2-3 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly and add crumbled ricotta salata, chopped parsley, salt and pepper and broccoli mixture. Mix well.
Line a 9-inch spring-form pan with 6 pastry leaves one at a time. Brush each one with melted butter overlapping the edges.
Pour filling into the pan.
Fold the overlapping edges of phyllo over the top of the filling. Cut four 9-inch circles from the remaining pastry leaves with scissors. Use a cake pan as a template. Brush each circle with melted butter, layering one over the other on the top of pie.
With a sharp knife cut through to make 8 sections. if there is any butter left pour it over the top. Place spring-form pan on a cookie sheet lined with foil to catch the drippings.
Bake 55-60 minutes or until crust is puffy and golden. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes.
To serve, remove the ring and with a sharp knife, cut into the slices you pre-cut.