I adore gnocchi. I haven’t, however, had much success with making it. I’ve tried the potato variety (my favourite), and ended up with a pile of slimy mush. I’ve tried semolina, and ricotta, and not done much better. But I recently found myself with a bunch of spinach which was rapidly approaching the point where I’d have to use it or loose it to the compost heap in the sky, so when I turned up this recipe, I decided to give gnocchi another go.
The recipe was kind of a disaster.
I followed the instructions exactly (unusual for me) and the mixture was super-wet and sticky and not going to form into any kind of shape at all. So I added a little flour, and kept adding until, about 1 1/2 cups later, I had a mix that was (just) holding together.
Then I tried to shape it with just lightly floured hands, but that just left me with sticky mix all over the place, and not the nicely torpedo shaped dumplings I was after. In the end, I simply dropped spoonfuls of the mix onto a floured bench and rolled them from there, which worked just fine.
Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi
1 bunch English spinach
100g of finely grated parmesan
1 1/2 cups plain flour
a pinch of grated nutmeg
2 tblsp butter
10 sage leaves
Extra parmesan, to serve
Wash the spinach well. Pile it into a large saucepan with just the water on the leaves, cover, and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until wilted. Cool slightly, then squeeze out as much water as possible. Chop finely.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except butter and sage to form a soft dough. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a well-floured surface, roll in flour and shape into long sausages.
Cook in batches in a large pot of boiling salted water. They will only take a few minutes and rise to the surface when ready. Partly inspired by this recipe for pan-fried gnocchi and kale, I decided to fry my gnocchi lightly once they were boiled, for a bit of colour and to firm up the texture (they were still very soft).
Meanwhile, cook the butter and sage leaves in a pan over low heat until the butter is brown and nutty.
To serve, spoon a little of the butter over the gnocchi, and top with parmesan and fresh black pepper. Delish.
Awesome Housemate declared that if you served this to someone in a fancy restaurant, they wouldn’t complain. I’m not quite so taken with them, but I am back on the gnocchi-making wagon, and will definitely be giving those soft, amazing potato dumplings a go soon.
I had the leftovers the next day with a spicy tomato sauce, and I think that was even better.