This recipe for Gnocchi di ricotta e spinaci with herbed butter is one I have adapted from a recipe I found in the 22 October 2005 Melbourne 'Good Weekend' magazine. Melbourne has a very large Italian population, there's an Italian restaurant in most shopping centres and Italian recipes are abundant in all our magazines and in the cooking sections of our newspapers. In making the herb butter, select a couple of herbs you like from those suggested below or any others that you prefer. The gnocchi can be served over pasta, or as a side-dish or on their own as a light meal with salad greens.
- 1 kg spinach
- 1 1⁄2 cups ricotta cheese, low-fat is fine (I've found it makes no appreciable difference to the taste)
- 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- salt, to taste
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- plain flour, for dusting
- 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
- 1 pinch rosemary, to taste (optional)
- 1 pinch sage, to taste (optional)
- 1 pinch oregano, to taste (optional)
- 1 pinch marjoram, to taste (optional)
- Cook the spinach over a low-medium heat, in just the water that was still clinging to the leaves after you had washed it, for 5 minutes; drain; squeeze out as much of the remaining liquid as possible, chop finely and place in a medium-large-sized bowl.
- Add the ricotta, half the parmesan, the nutmeg and the egg yolks and season to taste with the salt and freshly ground pepper; shape the mixture into balls and dust lightly with flour.
- Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the gnocchi, a few at a time and, once they rise to the surface, remove them with a slotted spoon, set aside on a serving dish and keep warm; once all the gnocchi have been cooked, melt the butter and add to it the herbs of your choice; pour the herbed butter over the gnocchi; sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and serve.