Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Cooking Italy Assignment
Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi, p262

Last fall I made some leaden spinach gnocchi from a recipe I collected years and years ago, so I wasn't especially looking forward to this assignment. But, based on other folks' positive comments, I pushed ahead with this assignment, if a bit late.

These gnocchi are quite easy to make. It takes a bit of clock time, but the work isn't difficult. The night before I moved some spinach, proscuitto, and ricotta from the freezer to the fridge. Hazan recommends using leaf spinach, if frozen, but you end up chopping it yourself, so I'm not sure why you couldn't use frozen chopped spinach instead. Also, when using frozen spinach in lasagna, for example, I don't bother to cook it; frozen veggies have been parboiled and that's quite enough for something as quick-cooking as spinach. Next time I won't bother with cooking the spinach first.

After sautéing a bit of onion and proscuitto, the cooked-then-chopped spinach is added. When this has cooled, you stir in ricotta and flour, then a pair of egg yolks, a haystack of grated Parmesan, and a dab of nutmeg, resulting in a sticky dough.

This is rolled into lots of little balls, as small as you can make them. I had to flour my hands several times to keep things going.

From a whole recipe, I ended up 56 gnocchi. I froze half and used the rest for dinner. Originally I planned to use the sage-butter sauce (since half of us can't eat the Tomato Sauce with Heavy Cream as assigned), but I didn't feel like dashing through the rain to pick the sage, so I decided to do the Gratinéed Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi (p264) instead. Hazan has you do the gratin in oven, but the oven took forever and ever to heat up. I finally realized that the gas was running out. (The old stove was pretty clear when the gas was getting low; the new one does it's best to keep going, but this ends up being confusing since there was flame, but nothing getting very hot.) By the time we changed to the new cylinder, I decided to heat up the broiler, rather than waiting for the oven, so we fairly quickly had dinner after that.

And a yummy dinner it was! The individual dishes that I used were really a bit too big, but that doesn't really affect the taste. We thought this might make a nice starter, with smaller individual dishes, but it made a quite nice dinner as it was, followed by a salad. For company, the gnocchi could be prepared in the morning and left to dry a bit. It takes just a few minutes to boil them, even though they have to be done in batches (unless you have an e-normous pot so they don't get crowded).


  1. You make it all look so easy and so delicious! I need to get to this one soon, really, I do, all the ones I have seen look great. Thanks for the tips on the spinach. I love the photos, but the one with them all lined up in little rows is very cute!

  2. Awesome! I loved that dish. I'm glad they worked out for you. I will be making mine again. The ones I cooked from freezer were also really good and it made for an easy dinner. just make sauce.

  3. Kayte, this was really good and wasn't hard at all—rolling all the balls was a trifle messy, but fun. Melissa's was one of the posts that inspired me to go ahead with it after my previous fiasco. We're looking forward to the frozen bits for an easy dinner one evening.