Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi
Remember my pignoli cookie post last week? I mentioned that my grandmother had taught me that recipe plus another delicious family favorite! The other recipe…the infamous gnocchi! I love those little dumplings! Can’t get any better than a big bowl of homemade gnocchi and sauce!
What I didn’t realize, was that my grandmother doesn’t use potatoes to make the gnocchi. She finds them a little heavy, so instead she uses ricotta cheese. Crazy, huh? I’ve never even realized that. Which is somewhat sad, because I’ve been eating these gnocchi for the last 29 years of my life!
The base recipe is super simple. A ration of 1:1:1 – eggs to ricotta to flour. Easy to make a small or large batch. But I wanted to take my on spin on it by adding spinach. Adding a little bit of green vegetables makes me feel a little healthier about eating a giant bowl of cheese dumplings.
This recipe is so easy to make. I was surprised that it wasn’t more complicated. I whipped up this recipe for Dario and I in about 30 minutes. Homemade pasta in 30 minutes? Pretty awesome if you ask me! I highly recommend that if you have the time, double or triple the batch. You can freeze extra gnocchi on a sheet tray and then load them all up in a freezer safe plastic bag for a busy weeknight meal! You’ll be happy you did!
Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi:
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thoroughly squeezed dry
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- Place the ricotta and drained spinach in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until the spinach is thoroughly ground and almost pureed. This will help ensure the gnocchi’s have a smooth texture and you’re not biting through large chunks of spinach.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the spinach/ricotta mixture, egg, salt and nutmeg. Stir together with a fork until combined. Slowly add in the flour – start with 1 cup first. Mix with your hands or spoon until combined. The dough should resembled a biscuit dough – not so wet it gets stuck all over your hands, and not too dry. It should feel lightly tacky. Tip: it’s better to add to little flour than too much – more flour will get incorporated as you roll out the gnocchi which can help you achieve the correct texture.
- Once dough is combined, dust your board or counter top with flour and knead the dough for about 1-2 minutes or just until the dough is smooth. Let dough sit for about 2o minutes covered.
- To make gnocchi, take a small piece of dough and roll out into a log/snake shape that is about 1/2″ in diameter. Cut the log into small pieces again, about 1/2″ long or about the size of the tip of your pointer finger.
- At this point, you can take the gnocchi and roll them over the back of fork tines to get those little grooves. Or, as my grandmother showed me, use two fingers (I use my middle and ring finger) and gently press into the gnocchi and pull down and back toward you. The gnocchi will roll over on itself and you’ll have a little indent in the center. It takes a few times to get the hang of this technique. This makes a gnocchi that’s perfect for holding sauce!
- At this point you can either freeze gnocchi on a sheet tray and once frozen transfer to a freezer safe plastic bag or cook them.
- To cook: bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt liberally and add gnocchi. Cook gnocchi until they float to the top – about 60 seconds. Once floating, cook for another 30 seconds or until tender. Toss with pre-warmed sauce and serve immediately!