Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

spinach ricotta gnocchi

I love gnocchi. I constantly order it at restaurants and yet until tonight I had not made it in over a decade. However, every time I see a gnocchi recipe my brain sings out, "must make!" I landed myself in a nice bundle of hot water earlier this year after passing on a complicated gnocchi recipe to my friend Becky -- without trying it. She did try it, and let's just say it was not a smashing success.

When I saw Elise's Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi post on Simply Recipes, my brain did the same thing. And I said to Becky, "this one looks much better!" She said, "YOU get to try it first this time." Fair is fair.

I ended up making the gnocchi and serving it with fresh asparagus, pancetta and to try something new, a vinaigrette sauce. However, this post is not really about the whole dish because while I like gnocchi and asparagus, and I like asparagus and vinaigrette, I didn't think all three went together in a blog-worthy fashion. It wasn't bad, but it was not great either. So goes experimentation. (See update below for a better approach)

The good news is that this time, the recipe is a good referral. Making gnocchi is not the fastest process in the world, but Elise's recipe is really quite delicious and I am happy to have half of the dough still in the fridge so I can have another go with a more traditional sauce.

Here is a link to the full recipe, and below are a few notes:

1. Her ingredients call for nutmeg, but I didn't see it mentioned in the description. To me, the logical place for addition would be mixed in the food processor with the egg, salt, spinach and ricotta.

2. I first tried mixing the "dough" with my hands (her step #2) but found it to be near impossible because it was so sticky. I ended up using a spoon for most of the process, and near the end using a spoon and my other hand.

3. While this could be because I had to eyeball 1.5 lb of ricotta, I found that the dough wanted a bit more flour to shift from being a sticky mass to being a bit more dough-like. I used about 2 full cups.

4. I recommend splitting the dough into 4 smaller portions, wrapping each separately in plastic wrap, and placing into the fridge for an hour before commencing with the gnocchi creation.

5. once the gnocchi float, let them cook for a 2 or 3 more minutes before removing to a baking tray to dry


UPDATE: I made a second batch of gnocchi and served with a sauce of mushrooms and shallots sauted in a few tablespoons of butter (yeah I know), with a little salt and pepper, and it was delicious.

9 comments:

MeetaK said...

i adore gnochhi and make it fresh quite often at home. so will certainly be trying this!

Stamford Talk said...

I like that you tried to "eyeball" the ricotta... that's bold of you!
I rarely order gnocchi- I tend to think of it as flavorless and mushy- but I hear that Napa in Stamford has great gnocchi.
If you and Lisl haven't tried that place yet, we should meet up there sometime- the food is so, so good.

Maryann said...

This is wonderful, Giff!

Stacey Snacks said...

I made tortellini the other night with a vinegar sauce and peas and prosciutto.....not as good as your geen gnocchi, but so satisfying.

FoodJunkie said...

All my experiments have so failed this past month, I have started to wonder whether I will ever be able to cook an edible meal again. The gniocchi look great. I will definitely give them a try soon, as spinach is nice and tender this time of year.

Colloquial Cook said...

I'm glad to read that you also belong to the adventurous and delightful category of the eyeballers. Cooking without a set of scales is liberating.

bee said...

beautiful pic. jai makes them too. have you tried making sweet potato gnocchi? it's great.

Giff said...

theoretically I should get a scale. I intellectually grant the usefulness :) I just haven't researched what to buy or made room for one in my cabinets, and I suspect that save for weekend cooking, I'm normally moving too fast to support that kind of precision!

Hi Bee :) here is another concept I support in theory but have not gotten behind in reality... I have inherited the anti-sweet-potato gene from my father (and my daughter has inherited it from me!)

matt wright said...

Ohhh that G word strikes fear in my heart. I tried making my first gnocchi after a couple of year ban on them, and well, they weren't that great. Looks like yours came out a darn sight better than mine! Yay to spring almost being here