For our end-of-summer party this year, we let ourselves be inspired by the latest issue of Saveur and made food with a Greek or Mediterranean slant: dolmades, tzatziki, tabouli, grilled flank steak, lemon chicken, grilled eggplant dip, hummus, and so on. For a while we were considering pastitsio (sort of a Greek lasagna), but decided on a greens-filled phyllo pie instead. I thought this would be spanakopita, the classic buttery spinach-feta pie, but then I discovered hortopita.

red chard


Hortopita is like spanakopita, but better. It uses any sort of greens mixture (horta in Greek) plus scallions and fragrant herbs, and instead of butter you brush the phyllo with olive oil, making it much less rich. I ended up making this twice this week – the one I made for the party disappeared almost instantly, and since there was phyllo left over I figured I’d just make us another one.

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fava bean puree with greens

fava beans

I finally got around to making something out of my most recently acquired Italian cookbook. Not farro, though (I need to restock my supply), but fava beans. An embarrassingly long time ago we picked up a bag of dried favas but had so far failed to use them in anything – I kept looking for good recipes but everything seemed to call for fresh beans, not dried. This recipe, though, is specifically for dried beans: a simple puree of cooked favas, blended with garlic and olive oil, and topped with sauteed greens. Apparently it’s a very traditional dish, and according to the book, Marcella Hazan has said this is what she would want for her last meal. Maybe it’s better when she makes it.

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