The amount of flour you’ll need in this recipe depends on the amount of moisture in your ricotta and spinach – the less moisture, the less flour you’ll need. Start with 100 g flour and cook one dumpling to see if it holds together. Soft gnocchi tastes better, so only use as much as you need to bind the ingredients together.
- 750 g wilted spinach, or thawed frozen spinach
- 500 g fresh ricotta, drained
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 100 g (⅔ cup) plain flour (or more if necessary), plus extra, to dust
- 200 g butter, melted
- finely grated parmesan and lemon wedges (optional), to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Squeeze the spinach as hard as you can to remove the excess water. Finely chop and mix with the ricotta in a large bowl. Add the nutmeg and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the eggs, stir until combined, then fold through the flour.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Place the extra flour in a shallow bowl ready for rolling the gnocchi, and line a tray with baking paper. Taking a good tablespoon or so of the ricotta mixture, roll it between floured palms, pressing to make a nice football-shaped dumpling. Roll it in the flour to coat, shake off the excess, then place it on the prepared tray. You can test this first one by simmering it in the boiling water until it floats. If it holds together, there is enough flour in the mixture; if not, you may need to add a little more. Also, taste to see if the mixture needs any more salt, pepper or nutmeg. Once you’ve made any adjustments, continue making the gnocchi with the remaining mixture.
Working in 3 batches, drop the gnocchi into the gently boiling water (make sure the water isn’t boiling too vigorously or the gnocchi may fall apart). Once the gnocchi float to the surface, gently scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain before placing on heated plates.
Melt the butter in a frying pan over high heat for 4 minutes or until just brown. Sprinkle the gnocchi with loads of parmesan and then pour the butter over the top. Serve with a pepper grinder on the table and some more grated parmesan. I find a lemon wedge is also a nice touch.
Photography Alan Benson
As seen in Feast magazine, November 2013, Issue 26.