On this crisp October autumn day, I have a wonderful Italian comfort food to share that is sure to fill you with warmth and goodness!
Italians love a pasta shape called “gnocchi” (pronounced NYOW-kee, emphasis on the NYOW)…the ‘g’ is silent and the ‘o’ is pronounced as in the word ‘no’. These little dumplings are eaten as a “primi” or “first course” of a meal. I also love them as a pass-around side dish which several Italian restaurants also serve them (either way).
I hope that you enjoy this special recipe; there are many versions of spinach gnocchi in Italian cookbooks and on-line. But this is the recipe that I learned, first served, and am still serving today. I only cook and share recipes that work and that people love and enjoy…..the rest are discarded, since time and money is precious!
What You Need:
- 3 10-oz. packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 jumbo eggs and 1 egg yolk
- 1-1/2 cups freshly grated ParmigianaRegiano cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1-1/3 cup unbleached flour (begin with 2/3 cup and add until desired result)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
- 1 15 oz. can tomatoes (preferably imported Italian)
- 1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
- 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 cup half and half
- Chicken or vegetable broth for boiling
- For the gnocchi, mix the first five ingredients together well.
- Add lemon zest and spices.
- Mix in flour slowly, adding a little more if it is too sticky-wet.
- Spread some flour in a shallow pan.
- Scoop gnocchi out by Tablespoon-size blobs and shape into ovals.
- Lay them down in the flour-laden pan and roll the to coat them evenly with flour.
- Discard excess flour after rolling gnocchi.
- Cook uncovered in boiling broth (preferably, but you can also use water) for approximately 5 minutes or until fairly firm to the touch.
- Transfer to a shallow baking dish and drizzle with either: melted butter with some shredded Parmigiana cheese and broil ... or Tomato Cream Sauce and serve.
- Slightly heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook ten minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, heat thoroughly and serve with extra Parmigiana cheese on the side.