Today I made gnocchi for the first time. They were delicious and so I am reproducing the recipe here. It is based on one of Jeremy Lee’s from a cutting from the December 11 1999 edition of The Guardian which I re-discovered inside my copy of Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean Cookery next to her Polpettine di Spinaci con Ricotta. I was looking for a recipe to use up a large quantity of spinach I had bought cheap and some ricotta getting close to its throw away date. They are served with tomato sauce. I used some I had in the freezer made from a Rick Stein recipe but any good tomato sauce will do. The Jeremy Lee version adds 100ml of whipping cream to a tomato sauce based on 600g of tinned tomatoes.
You need to allow quite a long time for cooling the spinach x 2. Lunch was served rather late!
Gnocchi verdi in tomato sauce
450g fresh spinach; 1 medium onion, finely chopped (I used half a large); 25g butter; large pinch grated nutmeg; 150g ricotta; 115g parmesan, freshly grated (+ a bit extra to serve); 2 fresh egg yolks; 75g plain flour; S&P
Pick through and wash spinach well, drain. Heat up a large pot and add spinach (I did this in 2 batches). Stir well until wilted then remove from pan and spread out to cool (I just put on clean worktop). When cool squeeze out excess liquid by hand and chop finely on chopping board.
Melt butter in warmed pan, add onion and cook until soft and golden. Stir in spinach and cook for a few minutes, stirring well. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat and spread out on baking tray to cool.
Once cool, put into a large bowl and stir in the cheeses, egg yolks and flour (I sifted just in case and used knife to stir!). Check seasoning.
I made half mixture into gnocchi straight away and put plate of them in freezer whilst waiting for water to boil. The recipe recommends keeping in fridge over night and then forming into balls using a teaspoon and floured hands. I put the other half into a plastic container so can test out which is best!
I cooked the gnocchi in three batches in a large pan of boiling water, removing them with a slotted spoon when they rose to the surface (best to switch off heat when you think they are done so they’re not rolling around too much). I had warm plates with a little melted butter ready but drained the gnocchi onto a spare plate to get rid of any water that came with them before transferring them to the warmed serving plates, pouring on the tomato sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan.