Gnocchi with Ricotta and Spinach
(adaptation of Gnocchi del Casentino)
1 cup ( 8 oz or 225 grams)
½ cup(110 grams) fine dry bread crumbs
¼ cup(55 grams) grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon of flour
10 oz (280 grams) of chopped spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: pinch of nutmeg
The preparation of the dough is fairly straightforward. In a large mixing bowl, start by beating the egg. Then add ricotta cheese and mix well. Stir in bread crumbs, flour, 1/4 cup of Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Optionally: add a dash of nutmeg.
Prepare the spinach to add to the mixture:
I suggest you only use high quality fresh spinach and that you steam it just until wilted. Boiling the spinach adds a lot of water that just has to be removed. Either way, you have to remove ALL of the moisture from the spinach until pressing down leaves little, if any, moisture. If you have paper towels, they are handy for this. This is a critical point to be sure the spinach is as dry as possible, or the gnocchi will not hold together later. Cut the spinach into smaller pieces.
Then, stir the spinach into the mixture. Shape the dough into 1 to 1 ½ inch balls and roll lightly in flour until just barely coated.
In a large kettle bring the water to a boil and add salt to taste. You want to be sure to use a pot that has plenty of room for the gnocchi. Add the gnocchi and when water returns to a boil, reduce the heat so that the water boils extremely gently. You will see the gnocchi pop up to the top of the boiling water just before they are done. Cook for about 10 minutes. It is important not to leave them too long or they will start to fall apart, especially the spinach (which is a different consistency than the other ingredients) starts to come apart from the balls.
Remove the balls with a slotted spoon and place them in a mixing bowl. If you choose to finish them with butter and sage or with tomato sauce, either way you can place the cooked gnocchi on the serving platter and then drizzle the finish over the gnocchi.