Ocala Cooks | Donna Lampkins

Donna Lampkins is retired and devotes her time to the Florida Parrot Rescue, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and placement of companion parrots. The former restaurant owner is a true foodie and avid gardener. 

“I have always loved this recipe because it is fairly easy to make, but it delivers a wow factor,” she shares. “It can be used as an appetizer or a main dish with a nice salad on the side.”

Mediterranean Cheese Tart


8 sheets frozen phyllo dough (about 17 x 12 inch rectangles), thawed1/4 cup butter melted

¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary or ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

½ of a 10-ounce package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts

1 egg

1 cup ricotta cheese

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup drained, oil-pack dried tomatoes, snipped

¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

For crust, generously grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Unfold phyllo. Cover phyllo with plastic wrap, removing phyllo sheets as needed. Brush one phyllo sheet with some of the melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the parmesan cheese. Repeat layering with remaining phyllo sheets, melted butter and parmesan cheese. Using kitchen shears, trim phyllo to an 11-inch circle. Ease phyllo evenly into the prepared pan, pleating as necessary and being careful not to tear the phyllo.

For filling, cook onions and rosemary in olive oil in a medium saucepan until onions are tender. Stir in spinach and pine nuts. Spread in the phyllo lined springform pan, set aside.

Lightly beat egg in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in ricotta, feta, and tomatoes and pepper. Carefully spread over spinach mixture. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Place springform pan on shallow baking pan on the oven rack. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center appears nearly set when shaken.

Cool cheese tart in springform pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen sides of pan. Cool 15 to 30 minutes more. Remove sides of the springform pan. Serve warm. 

Makes 12 appetizer servings or may be served as an entrée, paired with a salad and a nice red wine.

Ocala Cooks
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