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Print Gnocchi verde

These cloudlike spinach and ricotta gnocchi make a delicious alternative to the more usual potato or semolina ones. Use true spinach, if you can get it; it gives a better result than the perpetual variety (and is easier to prepare). This makes a good main with a crisp green salad. Substitute the Parmesan for another hard cheese to keep it vegetarian. Make sure you leave time to chill the mixture for an hour, or they'll fall apart when you cook them.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 450g spinach, tough stalks removed
  • 75g plain flour
  • 150g ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra to serve
  • Pinch nutmeg, grated
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Handful sage leaves
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Heat the butter in a small frying pan, add the onion and cook gently for 8–10 minutes, until soft but not coloured.
  2. Blanch the spinach in a large pan of boiling salted water for 1 minute, then drain and refresh in cold water. Drain again, squeeze out the excess water and chop the spinach roughly.
  3. Add to the onion, seasoning well, and cook for about 8 minutes, making sure they are thoroughly combined. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and sift in the flour. Add the ricotta and mix well. Then stir in the egg yolks, Parmesan and some nutmeg and mix again. Season to taste.
  4. Using 2 dessertspoons, shape the mixture into quenelles: take a spoonful of the mixture and then scoop it off with the second spoon, passing it from one spoon to the other until it is a neat oval shape. Place on a lightly floured tray and chill for 1 hour.
  5. To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add them in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. When the gnocchi rise to the surface, give them about 3 minutes more, then scoop out with a slotted spoon and place in a warm serving dish.
  6. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a shallow pan, add a handful of sage leaves and cook over a medium heat until the sage and butter brown slightly. The sage should be crisp but not burned.
  7. Serve the gnocchi sprinkled with Parmesan and drizzled with sage butter.
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