Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spinach and fresh ricotta gnocchi

**This is not a gluten-free recipe and was posted before I eliminated gluten from my diet. Gluten-free bread crumbs could be substituted for a gluten-free recipe.**

spinach and fresh ricotta gnocchi/gnudi adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New ClassicsI really want to make gnocchi, but I think it's going to have to wait until I have a bit more spare time to dedicate to the adventure. So, instead, I decided to make fake gnocchi (without potatoes), or gnudi, to be more accurate. I love the Italian language... I can't think of two words that are more fun to say than gnocchi and gnudi. And it reminds me of a competition that I had over eight years ago to see who could come up with the most words beginning with 'gn'. Given my competitor, I'm guessing I lost, but I have a feeling that neither one of us came up with gnocchi, and definitely not gnudi (apparently both of us forgot gnome and gnash... gotta love old emails!).

Spinach and fresh ricotta gnocchi (adapted from "Moosewood Restaurant New Classics")

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

5 oz fresh spinach
2 eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese (see my recipe for fresh ricotta)
2/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tsp dried basil (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
2 small green onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper

To make sauce, heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they start to brown (about 8 min). Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and let simmer for 10-15 min, stirring occasionally.

While sauce is simmering, rinse spinach and place it in a large pot. Cook on high heat until spinach begins to wilt (about 3 min). Drain any water off of spinach and let it cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and mix in remaining ingredients (parmesan through pepper). Squeeze any remaining liquid out of spinach, chop it roughly, and add it to the mixture.

Oil a baking dish (I used 11x7) and drop the spinach mixture into dish by heaping tablespoons. Pour tomato sauce over the gnocchi and bake at 400 for 25 min, or until gnocchi begin to brown. Serves 3.

These are delicious, and this is one of my favorite things that I've made lately. It was incredibly easy (unlike real gnocchi), and it was fun to have another excuse to make fresh ricotta (but of course store-bought would work fine). Now I'm getting more antsy to make the real thing, and perhaps I'll have the time in a few weeks. Until then, I'm extremely happy with my gnudi :)

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