The true test as to whether or not my meals are a success isn’t whether or not my wife says they are. With my sensitive ego and constant need for approval, it’s not a reliable enough test to ask her opinion. Don’t get me wrong, though: she’s honest with me, but a one through five gets me an “it’s not your best result”, and a six through ten is some variation of her “yeah, real good, babe” response. To truly gauge how good the good dishes are, I have to do extra little tests. Tonight, that test was attempting to steal the last of her gnocchi. My lack of success as a thief signified great success as an amateur chef.
Tonight wasn’t a night that I really needed to seek excess confirmation, though. The moment the first gnocchi touched my lips, I knew we were in for a special treat. I’ve made gnocchi multiple times in the past (including a less successful variation on this recipe), always asking myself, “Is this how they’re supposed to taste?” or, more pointedly, “Should they be this doughy?” Having eaten restaurant-quality gnocchi only once or twice before, it’s always been difficult for me to compare and know whether mine were, well, comparable. Tonight, however, these gnocchi tasted like nothing I’ve ever had before. So. Freaking. Good. Seriously! Delicate, deliciously cheesy, and seasoned just right, they were the best gnocchi I’ve ever tasted, and one of the top five dishes I’ve had all year – and that’s a top five that includes lamb curry and roasted duck! So yeah, this is definitely a recipe to try. Like, right now…seriously…I’ll wait…
Jokes aside, I very highly recommend knocking this one out soon. To do so, you’ll obviously need the recipe. My version is an adaptation of The Silver Spoon’s “Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi”. It includes all the same ingredients, but with quantities adjusted to account for what’s convenient to purchase from my local grocer, as well as actual measurements for salt and pepper instead of directions to “add to taste” (which is very inconvenient when you’re talking about uncooked dough with raw egg). I also took liberties with the prep aspect, opting for the ease of a food processor and piping over kneading, rolling and cutting. The end result is, in my opinion, a lighter and less doughy final result that’s even faster to prepare.
Spinach, Ricotta and Parmesan Gnocchi
- 1 large bunch of spinach
- 250 g ricotta
- 2/3 cup finely shredded parmesan, plus more for serving
- 2 egg yolks, preferably free range
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup butter
- Pick the leaves from the spinach bunch, wash under running water, and toss into a large pot without drying. Cook the spinach over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Spinach will wilt significantly in this time. Remove from heat and squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as possible. It may require allowing the spinach to cool, then squeezing the liquid out by hand. You should end up with approximately 1/2 to 2/3 cup of cooked spinach.
- Place the spinach in a food processor and process on high for 20-30 seconds. If the spinach sticks to the side of the food processor, use a spatula to clean the sides, then process a little longer.
- Add the ricotta, parmesan, salt, pepper, and egg yolks, and process on high until the ingredients are mixed well. Add the flour and process on low until the flour is fully incorporated. The mixture will be quite sticky and slightly dense. If your processor appears to struggle with the dough, then remove to a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon.
- Place a large pot of lightly-salted water on high and bring to a light simmer.
- As the dough is stickier than other gnocchi versions, it requires piping. Place the dough into a piping bag, and working in batches, pipe the dough into the simmering water, cutting the gnocchi into 1-inch cylinders. Kitchen shears work well for this step.
- The gnocchi is finished cooking once it floats to the surface of the water. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place on a plate to allow some of the excess water to evaporate. To finish the drying process, place the cooked gnocchi on paper towel. Waiting for the gnocchi to dry/firm up slightly helps to ensure they don’t stick to the paper towel.
- For serving, plate the gnocchi, drizzle generously with the melted butter, and sprinkle the extra grated parmesan overtop.
- Stand back, admire your handiwork, and enjoy!
Serves 2-3 as an entrée, 5-6 as a side
I’m sharing this dish over at Fiesta Friday. I usually have offerings for that group, but lately have neglected to mention/thank the wonderful co-hosts. Well, not this week! Joining are co-hosts are Michelle @Giraffes can Bake and Juju @Cooking with Aunt Juju. Make sure to check out the great things happening over at their blogs if you get a chance. I constantly find great looking dishes being shared over at FF, and I’m sure that this week won’t be the exception.