Frank Pellegrino's Spinach Pie

A Classic Veggie Pie From the Chef at New York's Rao Restaurant

GMA Recipes Dinner
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: min

Frank Pellegrino of New York's famous Rao's restaurant, joined Good Morning America to share the latest recipes from his new book, "Rao's: Recipes From The Neighborhood."

Every Friday night my father would eat at my grandmother's house with his brothers. Sometimes my grandmother would make a spinach or pizza pie for him to take home to us. There were times my mother and I never got any because my father ate the whole thing while driving.

For more information on Rao's, go to


  • Spinach Pie Filling
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 6 bunches spinach, steamed (or 3 boxes frozen whole leaf spinach), defrosted, squeezed of any excess water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon golden raisins, soaked in water to cover (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts (optional)
  • 1 Pizza Dough (recipe below)
  • Pizza Dough
  • 4 cups all purpose unbleached flour, plus additional flour for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 package rapid rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Cooking Directions

    Pizza Dough

    Oil the inside of a large bowl and set aside. Combine the flour and salt in another large bowl and set aside.

    In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of the warm water, the yeast, and the sugar and let the mixture stand for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast blooms and bubbles appear.

    Gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour, mixing with your hands to combine. Gradually add the remaining water and finally the oil, mixing until the dough is soft and sticky. You may need a little more water to make the dough soft and elastic.

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, working in more flour as needed. Or use an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.

    Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the oiled bowl. Turn it to coat with the oil, cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise for about an hour, until it is one and a half times its original size.

    Punch down the dough and let it rest for about 1 hour. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out with a rolling pin to the size and shape to fill your pizza pan. Let it rise in the pan approximately 20 minutes before adding toppings and cooking.

    Spinach Pie

    Preheat the oven to 375 F.

    Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach, salt and pepper to taste, raisins and pine nuts, if desired, and toss until the spinach is thoroughly coated and flavorful. Transfer the spinach mixture to a colander and let drain.

    To make 2 large pies, divide the pizza dough into two equal rounds. Roll out one round into a 14-inch circle. Spread 1 tablespoon of the oil over the dough and place half the spinach mixture onto half of the rolled out dough. Fold the dough over the mixture to form a half moon, and seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the remaining ball of dough. To make 8 small pies, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, rolling them each into a 4- to 5-inch circle and dividing the spinach mixture equally among them. Fold and seal as directed above.

    Transfer the pies to an oiled rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden. Remove from the oven, cut into slices, and serve.

    Makes 2 large pies or 8 small pies.

    Recipes excerpted from "Rao's: Recipes From The Neighborhood," by Frank Pellegrino, St. Martin's Press, copyright 2004.

    Recipe Summary

    Main Ingredients: spinach, pizza dough, garlic, olive oil

    Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course

    More Info: Vegetarian

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