James Peterson's Spinach Gnocchi


Spinach Gnocchi [Photograph: James Peterson]

Spinach pasta was a staple in my household when I was growing up. Us kids thought the weird green color was funny and my mom figured the extra vegetable couldn't hurt. Whether or not those supermarket noodles actually contained spinach was almost beside the point—it was the color that counted.

These days, I'm still fascinated by green pasta, so cooking up a batch of James Peterson's Spinach Gnocchi from Vegetables was an easy sell. These gnocchi are potato-free, instead relying on flour and ricotta cheese to turn the leafy green into a hand-rolled treat. Rolling out gnocchi is definitely a process, but it's easy and kind of like playing with Play-Doh. (Peterson includes great step-by-step photos for this recipe.) Once boiled, the gnocchi are ready to use in a hot butter sauce or a creamy (and even richer) gratin.

Why I Picked This Recipe: I'd always wanted to try making ricotta-based gnocchi; with Peterson's direction, the process was easy.

What Worked: Spinach and ricotta are a classic pair for a reason: The brightness of the greens (and complementary sage) was a great foil to the richness of the cheese.

What Didn't: I found the cook time a bit long for the gnocchi. Cooked as directed (7 minutes), they were a bit tough. I'd recommend simmering the gnocchi for 3 to 5 minutes instead.

Suggested Tweaks: Simplicity is best when it comes to serving gnocchi—I followed Peterson's direction to sauté in sage butter, but these gnocchi would also be good with a basic fresh tomato sauce or baked in a gratin.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Vegetables Revised to give away.