Green Gnocchi (Gnocchi verdi)

A delicious gnocchi recipe with flecks of nutritious spinach. This wholesome pasta dish from Elizabeth David is made extra creamy with butter, ricotta and Parmesan.

At Elizabeth David's Table
By Elizabeth David
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Introduction

This quantity is sufficient for four people for a first course. If they are to be the mainstay of a meal make the quantities half as much again; but as the cooking of these gnocchi is an unfamiliar process to most people, it is advisable to try out the dish with not more than the quantities given.

Serves 4 for a first course

Ingredients

375g / 12oz cooked and chopped spinach (i.e. 500g/1lb to start with)
salt
pepper
nutmeg
a little butter
250g / 8oz ricotta
2 eggs
3 tbsp of flour
45g / 1½oz grated Parmesan cheese
For the sauce:
Plenty of melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Cook the cleaned spinach with a little salt but no water. Drain it, press it absolutely dry, then chop it finely. Put it into a pan with salt, pepper, nutmeg, a nut of butter and the mashed ricotta. Stir all the ingredients together over a low flame for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the fire and beat in the eggs, the flour and the grated Parmesan. Leave the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, or, better, overnight.

Spread a pastry board with flour, form little croquettes about the size of a cork with the spinach mixture, roll them in the flour, and when they are all ready drop them carefully into a large pan of barely simmering, slightly salted water.

(Do not be alarmed if the mixture seems rather soft; the eggs and the flour hold the gnocchi together as soon as they are put into the boiling water.)

Either the gnocchi must be cooked in a very large saucepan or else the operation must be carried out in two or three relays, as there must be plenty of room for them in the pan. When they rise to the top, which will be in 5–8 minutes, they are ready. They will disintegrate if left too long. Take them out with a perforated draining spoon, drain them carefully in a colander or sieve, and when the first batch is ready slide them into a shallow ovenproof dish already prepared with 30g/loz of melted butter and a thin layer of grated Parmesan cheese. Put the dish in a low oven to keep hot while the rest of the gnocchi are cooked. When all are done, put another 30g/loz of butter and a generous amount of cheese over them and leave the dish in the oven for 5 minutes.

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