Three titles for the same dish from
Ideally bietole or Swiss chard should be used for this dish but fresh spinach makes an acceptable substitute. (Incidentally, very well drained and squeezed frozen leaf spinach will do.)
The quality of the ricotta is important as, obviously, is that of the Parmesan. Try and seek out a better quality ricotta from your delicatessen or cheese shop, but don’t worry if you have to use supermarket brands. This recipe contains virtually no flour in the mix, which I think improves on the Italian originals, but does make the dumplings harder to form. Under no circumstances use a food processor for the chopping of the spinach or the ricotta. The dumplings will be heavy if you do.
To prepare and form the gnocchi
Cook the spinach by dipping it in salted boiling water for 1 minute, then draining and refreshing it in cold water. Drain again then, using your hands, squeeze as dry as possible; copious quantities of water will come out. Now squeeze again and even more will exude. When you are satisfied that it is as dry as you can get it (your arms will be aching but it does wonders for the pectoral muscles), re-fluff it up by breaking up the compacted balls. You will need to have
Coarsely chop the spinach and put in a large mixing bowl. Break up and add the ricotta, Parmesan,
To form the gnocchi, place
To cook and serve the gnocchi
Put the butter to melt with the sage leaves in a small saucepan and infuse. Do not burn, just melt it and keep warm. Carefully tip the formed gnocchi into the boiling water and return to a simmer. As soon as bubbles reappear, turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. The gnocchi take 10 minutes or so to cook and they float when done. Of course if you didn’t use a wide pan and foolishly opted for a deep, narrow saucepan, many of the dumplings will be held under by their colleagues on top. They will not be able to demonstrate their buoyant personalities and will become waterlogged.
Remove the heated dish from the oven and turn the
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.