Green Ricotta Gnocchi
350 g baby spinach
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
250 g ricotta
40 g grated parmesan
3 tablespoons plain flour (gluten-free if you like)
20 g butter
grated parmesan or any sharp good-quality cheese
freshly grated nutmeg
1: Preheat the oven to 180C.
Wash the spinach, then place in a saucepan with the water still clinging to its leaves. Season with a little salt and cook over medium heat until wilted. Drain and press dry in a tea towel, then finely chop. Put the spinach back in the pan, along with some salt and pepper, nutmeg and a teaspoon of butter.
2: Add the ricotta and stir over low heat for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Transfer to a dish and mix in the eggs, parmesan and flour. Turn out onto a clean floured surface and roll into a thin log. Cut into little rectangles or pillows.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, then reduce the heat to a light simmer. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the top (usually about 5 minutes). Scoop them out of the water as soon as they are ready – if you leave them too long they will disintegrate, so you need to work efficiently.
3: Melt the butter in a shallow ovenproof frying pan over low heat. Top with a thin layer of cheese and place your pillows on top, then grate over some more cheese and a little nutmeg. Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden. Serve immediately. This is wonderful with my crispy carrot top salad and a peppery, herbaceous red wine.
You can make the gnocchi dough ahead of time and leave it in the fridge overnight. This is great if you’ve invited friends over for a mid-week dinner party.
My good friend Davide grew up in Italy. He told me stories of his grandma and mamma who laboured all day making the family dinners with such love and joy, and it made me think about how we have lost the art of taking time to appreciate the process. This recipe does not take much time to make, but it does need your love to make it taste delicious. I adore this dish and the simplicity of using just a handful of ingredients.