Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Gnocchi di Ricotta

This recipe, from the Casentino area of Tuscany, is pure nostalgia! I can remember, as a small child, watching these gnocchi being made when my chin rested on the marble table top very comfortably. The secret is to work the mixture very lightly with your fingertips so it stays light and fluffy. Green bullets are not what you are trying to achieve! Keep your fingers stiff, use a minimum of flour on your hands as you shape, and work as fast as you possibly can.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (1 kg) fresh or 12 oz (350 g) frozen spinach
  • 12 oz (350 g) ricotta cheese
  • 4 tablespoons plus 4 oz (100 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3–4 tablespoons plain white flour
  • oz (120 g) unsalted butter

Method

If using fresh spinach, wash it thoroughly. Place the spinach in a heavy-bottomed pan and cook for about 5 minutes or until the leaves wilt. Cool.

Squeeze the spinach dry in your hands, then process or sieve it finely. Put it into a bowl with the ricotta, 4 tablespoons Parmesan and eggs. Mix lightly but thoroughly together, then season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Using your hands, add enough flour to thicken the mixture so that you can handle it easily without too much stickiness. The better you have dried your steamed spinach and the less flour you use at this point, the better your finished dish will be. Shape quickly into 3 inch (7.5 cm) croquette shapes, dust very lightly with flour and set aside.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Gently slip in the gnocchi and cook for 1–2 minutes or until they are floating on the surface. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and lay them on a warm platter. Melt the butter without browning and pour over the gnocchi. Sprinkle 4 oz (100 g) Parmesan all over the top and serve at once.

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