Making Spinach Gnocchi with Ricotta has always been a favorite with the kids. Rolling out the dough, mixing the ricotta into the spinach puree and blanching the gnocchi's is always delightful. Making the gnocchi can be a little tricky at first but one important thing to keep in mind is to make sure you let the potatoes dry out completely.
The spinach ricotta blend gives the gnocchi a gentle pop of color and adds a creamy vibrancy.
If you do not have a ricer and are using a whisk to mash your potatoes, please do not overwork your dough. It will make your dough gummy. I strongly suggest gently folding in all ingredients. After you have gently worked your dough, then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Be sure to dust your board with a little flour to prevent the gnocchis from sticking to the board. Use the tip of your chef knife when cutting your gnocchi.
Using a regular fork, gently press the tines down and roll back the gnocchi. You should end up with stout rectangles with the classic gnocchi indentation.
Make sure you have a pot of simmering salted water and an ice bath ready for gnocchis that have floated to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon and carefully submerge them in your ice bath. Salting your ice bath is recommended. It keeps your gnocchis seasoned and it also drops the temperature of your ice bath, shocking your gnocchis almost instantly.
A fresh squeeze of lemon will brighten the greens in the dish. And don't hold back on the Parmigiano. Grate it over the Spinach Gnoochi while they're fresh from the pan.
This dish is very versatile, you can add marinara sauce, Alfredo cream sauce or just plain lemon & brown butter. You can also freeze the gnocchi for a later time.
Katherine's Take: Any way I can sneak extra veggies into the kids' diets, I'll take. But this is an extra special way to do it. The sear gives the spinach gnocchi a lovely, buttery crisp, and the sage adds an extra aromatic element that compliments the Parmesan beautifully. Eddie added a very light sage drizzle as I always like a bit of extra sauce.
The kids demolished this dish and went back for seconds, with their dusty little hands. And of course, they were quite proud to have helped make dinner. Win all around.
Suggestions and Alternatives
- When browning your butter be sure to use high quality European style butter it has a higher fat content and will brown better.
- Don't puree your spinach in a blender longer than 15 seconds at a time. The friction heat from the blender will turn your beautiful, bright green spinach brown.
- When searing your gnocchi be sure your pan is on high heat to create a great sear. If your pan is not hot enough your spinach gnocchi will will stick to the pan.
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- 1 Idaho potato, mashed
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg, ground
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
- 2 cups spinach, blanched
- 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- 1/4 cup lemon, juiced
- Pare and cook 1 large potato, strain and mash.
- Blanch spinach for 2 minutes. Shock in Ice bath, squeeze out water and blend until smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl combine mashed potatoes, spinach puree, egg, ricotta, Parmesan, salt, nutmeg and flour, fold all until firm ball is formed.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Dust your work space with flour and roll out your dough into 1 inch pieces.
- Gently drop your gnocchi into salted simmering water. (about 3 minutes).Gnocchi are ready when they float, take them out with a slotted spoon and shock them in salted ice water. Remove gently and place them on a dry towel.
- For the spinach puree, add 1 cup cleaned spinach to Vita-mix blender and 1 tbs olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt, juice of 1/2 lemon, pulse and blend on high for 1 minute. Chill immediately. Do not blend for too long, the friction heat of the blender will cause you puree to turn brown.
- Using a small saute pan on medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon butter and 5-10 gnocchi, fold 3 tablespoons julienne sage. Allow them to brown for 3 minutes.
- Garnish with fried sage and parmesan cheese.