Spinach Gnocchi With Ricotta
- Servings: 6 to 8.
Although many popular versions of gnocchi are made with potatoes, this one is made with ricotta cheese and spinach and originated in Florence, where spinach is a staple on nearly every restaurant menu.
Another name for this kind of gnocchi is ravioli nudi -- naked ravioli -- as if it's the inside of a ravioli without its pasta envelope.
- 2 cups fresh ricotta
- 1 pound spinach, leaves removed and thoroughly washed, making about 3 cups raw leaves; a 9 oz. bag of pre-washed spinach also makes about 3 cups
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the gnocchi
- 2 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 large egg yolks
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 fresh sage leaves, torn into about 3/4-inch pieces
- Drain the ricotta in a cheesecloth-lined sieve or colander, set over a bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Discard the water that has drained out.
- Blanch the spinach in a large pot of boiling water. This will only take about 2 minutes. Drain immediately and cool under cold running water. Squeeze out the excess water. You should have about 1 cup of cooked spinach.
- Finely chop the spinach and then using a mortar and pestle or with a few pulses in the food processor (but be careful to not liquefy it), crush the spinach into a fine paste. Transfer to a large bowl and add 2/3 cup of the flour, 2 cups of the Parmesan, egg yolks, drained ricotta, a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Mix until completely combined and has made a relatively firm dough; if you need more flour to reach that point, add it in small amounts until it holds together.
- Dust a work surface with about 1/3 cup of flour. Using 2 small spoons or a small, ice cream scoop, shape 1 heaping tablespoon of the ricotta mixture into a ball, and gently place it onto the floured surface. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make about 40 gnocchi.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
- In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 375° F. in a small saucepan or using your microwave, melt the butter. Add the sage leaves and let the melted butter sit for a few minutes so that the sage flavors it. Spoon about a tablespoon of the melted sage butter into a baking dish and with your fingers, rub to coat the dish; scatter the wilted sage leaves on the bottom of the dish.
- Add the gnocchi to the simmering water in two batches and cook until they float, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, drain each briefly to gently shake off any excess water, and transfer to the buttered baking dish in a single layer. Pour the remaining melted butter over the gnocchi and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.
- Bake the gnocchi on the upper rack of the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven, let the dish sit for a few minutes and then serve immediately.