Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi

I love Gnocchi and when I saw this recipe being prepared on Cooking Channel’s Extra Virgin, by actress Debi Mazar and her husband, talented Italian chef Gabriele Corcos, I went out immediately bought the ingredients and made it for Mom and Spence.  It was a huge hit – the fried fresh sage leaves from my garden made it extra delicious.

Fast forward to last night.  My lifelong BFF were attending a Harvest Meal, all plant based, locally sourced and delicious.  She has been a longtime advocate of meat free Mondays (and primarily eats vegetarian/vegan meals). It so happens that we are spending the next three days at her beautiful second home in the gorgeous Traverse City Michigan. Over dinner we discussed what we’d like to do while there and I suggested that I prepare dinner for Monday night.  I’d told her about this meal and she readily agreed.

I’ve kept the recipe very close to the original with only a few modifications.

Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi – serves 2 as an entree, 4 as a sidedish

  • 1 lb fresh spinach
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese (not low fat)
  • fresh grated Parmesan
  • 2 egg yolks – beaten
  • 4 T butter
  • sea salt & fresh ground black pepper
  • fresh grated nutmeg
  • fresh lemon zest
  • fresh sage leaves

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil (I use a huge pasta pot with a strainer.

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Add the spinach to the boiling water, pushing it down over the next minute to wilt it.

Pull the basket and drain the spinach immediately, plunging it into an ice water bath to halt the cooking.  Drain the spinach and squeeze out the water completely.  (I wrap it in several paper towels, then place that bundle inside a clean kitchen towel and squeeze it)

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Squeezed out, it looks much smaller

Chop the spinach very fine.

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Chopped

Place the spinach in a large bowl, add the ricotta, 4 T of parmesan, eggs yolks, salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon zest.

Stir to combine.  Shape the mixture into balls about the size of large walnuts.

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Butter a casserole dish and lay the gnocchi in it, dressing it with a few thin slices of buttter and more parmesan (I use a generous amount of parmesan).

Bake the gnocchi for 20 minutes then set under broiler for 5 minutes to brown the top.

In a medium skillet, melt 1 1/2 T of butter and saute the sage until it starts to brown.  Serve the gnocchi, dressed with the sage and butter sauce, sprinkle on more of the parmesan.

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Prepare to fall in love….so yummy.

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Chef’s note: You could use frozen chopped spinach in this recipe.  If I weren’t retired, I think I might do that as the blanching step is time consuming (but worth it).  I added the nutmeg and lemon zest which really puts this into the “over the top” amazing category, in my humble opinion. 

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