Pumpkin, spinach and ricotta pie with oregano and pine nuts

by Henrietta Inman, from "The Natural Baker"

I first met Henrietta Inman through the Mill, as she uses a lot of our whole grain and gluten-free flours that we produce. Not only is she a very skilled pastry chef, but she has recently published her latest cookbook, “The Natural Baker”, which this recipe is from. I’m thrilled to be featuring a couple of her recipes on the blog over the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled for them as and when they pop up… I think this would make the perfect bank holiday weekend lunch!

During my modern languages degree, I spent five months in Bologna in the north of Italy, also known as Bologna La Grassa for all its rich and divine food. The fresh pasta I tasted there will never be forgotten. Two of my favourites were tortelli di zucca and tortelli con ricotta e Parmigiano, plump parcels filled with pumpkin, and ricotta and Parmesan, served with lots of olive oil or butter and extra cheese. I’ve combined these fillings here and added oregano, a wonderful herb that is slightly less pungent than sage. The filling is encased in crunchy filo (phyllo) and, once the vegetables are cooked, it’s quick and easy to make.

Squash will work instead of pumpkin, but find the most flavoursome type, as some can be quite watery.

Serves 4-6

Recipe extract from “The Natural Baker” by Henrietta Inman. Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£20). Available from 22nd March on Amazon. 


  • 1 pumpkin, about 850g (1lb 14oz), peeled, cored and cut into cubes (see recipe introduction)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • 110g (3¾oz / scant ½ cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus about 60g (2oz / ¼ cup) for the filo (phyllo) pastry, plus more if needed and for the tin (pan)
  • 300g (10½oz / 10 cups) spinach leaves
  • 250g (9oz / generous 1 cup) ricotta cheese
  • 80g (2¾oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped oregano leaves, plus more to serve (optional)
  • 7 sheets of filo (phyllo) pastry (my sheets were 48 x 25.5cm / 19 x 10in)
  • 100g (3½oz / scant ½ cup) mascarpone cheese
  • 30g (1oz / ¼ cup) pine nuts


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Roast the pumpkin for about 30 minutes with the garlic, salt and pepper and 40g (1½oz / scant ¼ cup) of the olive oil, until very soft and becoming golden at the edges.

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, then drop the spinach in to cook for 1 minute, no more. Plunge into a bowl of cold water, then drain through a colander, squeezing out all the excess water. Roughly chop.

In a bowl, mash the cooked pumpkin and all its cooking juices with a fork. Mash in the chopped spinach, ricotta, 70g (2½oz / generous ¼ cup) of the olive oil, the Parmesan, oregano and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary; add more olive oil, too, if it seems dry. You want to create a flavoursome, juicy filling that will not become dry when cooked.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and brush a 30 x 20 x 3cm (12 x 8 x 1¼in) or similar sized baking tin (pan) or ovenproof dish with olive oil. Add 1 layer of pastry, brush generously with olive oil, then add another layer of pastry and oil, continuing until you have used all 7 sheets. An even distribution of the filo (phyllo) is necessary, so place 1 sheet horizontally, then 2 sheets lengthways, and so on. Brush the last sheet with oil, then spread over the pumpkin and ricotta mix.

Using a spoon, evenly distribute spoonfuls of the mascarpone over the top of the tart, then swirl it into the pumpkin mix with a fork. Scatter over the pine nuts. Lift up the edges of the filo (phyllo) pastry, tuck them into the sides and corners of the tray and brush them with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. To serve, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and add the extra oregano leaves, if you want.

Serve warm or slightly cooled, but it’s best eaten fresh. Store any leftovers in the fridge for about 5 days, warming up a little before serving, if you like.