Peel the potatoes, cut them into large chunks and cook in a large pan of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain, return to the pan and shake over a low heat to dry off excess moisture.
Destalk, deseed and shred the chillies and add to the potatoes. Destalk and chop the coriander leaves and add these. Season with a little grated nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Mash with a potato masher or an electric whisk until free of lumps. Take out 2 heaped tablespoons and reserve these for thickening the soup. Add the flour and beat briefly to amalgamate. Add the egg and beat in.
Turn out on a floured surface, knead briefly and divide into 4. Roll each quarter into a cylinder with a diameter of about 2.5 cm/1 in. Shake more flour over, cover with a cloth and leave while you make the soup.
Peel and chop the shallots. If using fresh spinach, pick it over, discarding any blemished leaves and cutting out larger stalks.
Heat a large pan of salted water to poach the dumplings.
Fry the shallots in the olive oil until translucent, grate in a little nutmeg to taste and add the stock. Bring to the boil and add the spinach. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Put in a liquidizer or food processor with the reserved potato and whizz to a creamy purée. Season with salt and pepper, return to the pan and keep hot over a very low heat.
Cut the gnocchi cylinders into individual dumplings. You decide how big you want to make them, but 2.5 cm/1 in lengths puff up nicely.
Poach in the simmering salted water for 5 minutes and remove with a spider or slotted spoon.
Transfer the cooked gnocchi to warmed soup bowls and ladle over the spinach soup. A neat combination.
© 1995 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.