I’ve also been making this recipe for 20+ years. It looks beautiful, travels very well, and tastes great right out of the oven, at room temp, or reheated. It is guaranteed to get devoured at pot lucks.
Lately I reduce the fat content by using chicken sausage, 2 cups of lowfat cheese, lowfat cottage cheese for the ricotta, and only one crust, which I put it on top because I it looks and tastes better than using just one crust on the bottom. It’ll cook in about an hour without the bottom crust. I also add a can of mushrooms (no point in using fresh in a recipe like this), sometimes some onions, and I use real garlic and more black pepper. I add these to the sausage while it’s browning to meld the flavors a little.
I think the variations in spiciness are due to the sausage that people use. I don’t really care for mild sausage in this recipe. If you want more flavor, use hot sausage or add some red pepper flakes, fennel and sautéed onions.
Make sure to squeeze the spinach really dry.
It does make a lot and you’ll need to use a large pie pan. I’d say it more like twelve servings, not eight. I use a ceramic pan that is about 11” across and 2 ½” deep. Those ones that the frozen pie crust comes in will not be big enough even though they say ‘deep dish’. You can mound the filling up to make it all fit.
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I’ve also been making this recipe for 20+ years. It looks beautiful, travels very well, and...