Gnocchi Verde translation: green dumplings. These Italian dumplings are made green by copious amounts of spinach and made delicious by cheeses and spices.
Italian food has always been my favorite. I went over to Italy one summer a little shy of a decade ago for a short exchange program to learn about art and culture, but my favorite part ended up being the food, of course. That is where I first tasted creamy gelato (everyday), fluffy pillows of traditional gnocchi, and truffle pizza. Between the rich sauces, pasta, olive oil, and cheeses, they got it right!
So when my dear friend Carla-Bean gave me a adorable little Italian cook book published in the 1960’s soon after my return from Italy, I was thrilled. I have been meaning to make this Gnocchi Verde recipe from this cook book, ‘Recipes: The Cooking of Italy,’ for the longest time, and now I am wondering why I didn’t do it sooner?! Making these little spinach dumplings was a fun little adventure. I made a few changes, and they turned out ridiculously delicious. Mhhhmmm.
You just cook down some spinach, mix in cheese, spices, flour, and egg, then let the mix chill in the refrigerator for an hour. Then, pop small scoops in boiling in water for a few minutes. Then put the drained dumplings in a buttered casserole dish, sprinkle with more cheese and broil long enough for the cheese to start to brown. I served the gnocchi verde over some pasta with Italian-spice enriched spaghetti sauce and sauteed portabello mushrooms. I also served wine with the dish, because it would not be fully Italian with out some sweet wine. My husband said he felt like he had gone to a fancy Italian restaurant. Score!
- 9 oz chopped fresh spinach
- 4 tbsp butter (divided)
- ⅓ cup ricotta cheese
- 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese (divided)
- 4 tbsp all purpose flour
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- ⅛ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- 2 egg whites
- Melt half of the butter (2 tbsp) in pan over medium heat.
- Add chopped fresh spinach then saute until almost all of the moisture has evaporated and the spinach begins to stick to the pan.
- Add ricotta cheese and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
- Transfer cooked spinach and ricotta cheese to a bowl and mix in flour, egg whites, nutmeg, garlic, pepper, and half of Parmesan cheese (2 tbsp).
- Let mixture chill in fridge for about an hour, if the mixture is not fairly firm, mix in 1-2 more tbsp flour.
- Boil water and drop in rounded spoonfuls, about 1 heaping tablespoon. Do not overcrowd the pot so you will have to do a couple batches. Expect some loose spinach to come free of the dumplings in the boiling water, but the main dumplings will be intact. Let them boil 5 minutes then remove with slotted spoon and place on plates with paper towels.
- Turn oven on to broil and pour 1 tbsp melted butter in casserole dish. Place dumplings in dish and pour remaining melted butter (1tbsp) on top of dumplings. Then sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese (2 tbsp) on top.
- Put casserole dish in oven and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese starts to brown. Watch closely.
- Serve immediately over pasta with spaghetti sauce.