Monday, January 30, 2012

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Its been a long time since I've posted but I'm back with lots of exciting and new recipes to share :).  Today I was flicking through The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia for some inspiration for dinner and found a mouthwatering photo of ricotta and spinach gnocchi.  My first attempt at gnocchi (recipe can be found here) was a long, tiresome process.  The recipe for the ricotta gnocchi is so simple that I decided to follow it (with minimal tweaking of ingredients and amounts).  This is a great recipe for dinner parties as the gnocchi can be cooked ahead of time and it looks very impressive.

Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi 
(adapted from The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia by C. Capalbo et al.)

 - 6 garlic cloves
 - 1/2 bunch of basil
 - 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley
 - 200-250 grams baby spinach leaves
 - 270 grams fresh ricotta
 - 1 egg yolk
 - 1/3 cup grated parmesan
 - 2/3 cup plain flour
 - pinch of salt
 - cracked pepper

 - 30 grams butter
 - 10-15 leaves of fresh sage


  1. Bring a small amount of water to the boil.  Add garlic cloves and boil for 4-5 minutes.  Run them under cold water to cool them.  Pop the garlic out of their skins and using a garlic crusher, crush them into a small bowl.
  2. Place washed spinach into a small saucepan (don't add any water as the water from washing the spinach should be enough to wilt the spinach).  Allow to wilt on a low heat.  Once the spinach has wilted, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, wash and finely chop the basil and parsley.  Add to the garlic.
  4. Squeeze out all the water from the wilted spinach.  Chop finely.  Add to garlic and herb mixture
  5. In a separate bowl, add the ricotta and egg yolk.  Mix well.
  6. Add the herbs and garlic mixture to the ricotta.  Mix well.
  7. Add parmesan, flour, salt (salt to taste - if the parmesan you are using is very salty, leave out the salt) and pepper.  Gently mix, ensuring all the ingredients are combined
  8. Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour (or more).  This makes the mixture much easier to work with.
  9. Using floured hands, roll small balls of the mixture.  (I made them about the size of walnuts but its up to you how big you want them)
  10. Bring a large saucepan to the boil.  Salt and carefully add the gnocchi.  (I recommend doing small amounts at a time so they don't stick to one another).  They are ready once they begin to float.
  11. Remove them from the water.  (If you are serving this dish later, place the gnocchi in the fridge.  Just before you serve them - warm them up in microwave prior to continuing the next steps)
  12. Melt butter on medium-high heat on a large frying pan.  Once the butter has all melted, add the sage.  Let the sage cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the gnocchi.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, turning every few minutes.  Serve with the sage and butter from the pan and sprinkled with parmesan.

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