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.
Reprinted with permission from Vegetables, Revised by James Peterson. Copyright 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 1 hour
- Total time:1 hour
- 1 1/2 pounds spinach
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 extra-large eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Large pinch pepper
- Small pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons melted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
Wilt spinach in large pot. Drain and firmly squeeze cooked spinach in your hands to ring out any water. Put the spinach in a food processor with ricotta, eggs, 1 cup flour, and Parmesan. Purée for about 1 minute.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl and work in remaining 2 cups flour, sage, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add additional flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
Roll the dough out into five rolls, each about 15 inches long and 3/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into 3/4-inch pellets (you should get about twenty pellets per roll). Transfer pellets to a sheet pan well dusted with flour.
Poach the pellets in a large skillet fitted with simmering water for about 7 minutes. LIft the gnocchi out with a slotted spoon or skimmer and transfer them to a bowl with melted butter in it. Toss them in the bowl to keep them from sticking. (Gnocchi can be cooked ahead and kept in the refrigerator for several days.) Simmer and toss the cooked gnocchi in hot sauce or bake them in a gratin.