“These delicious gnocchi are found all over Lombardy. The name means ‘badly made’ because they were originally made from leftover ravioli filling. When cooks ran out of pasta but still had some filling left, they added eggs and flour and made gnocchi with it; these are called gnuddi in some regions, meaning ‘naked’ as they are missing their pasta covering. It’s really important to take the butter to a dark-brown stage so it tastes nutty, not greasy – so be brave and keep it on the heat longer than you think you need to.”
Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi Recipe: Ingredients
- 600 g baby spinach salt flakes
- 150 g unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup ( 200 g) well drained fresh ricotta
- 1 ¹⁄³ cups ( 200 g) 00 flour , sifted
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 120 g Grana Padano, freshly grated
- 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper
How to make this Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi Recipe
1. Blanch the spinach, in batches, in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Place in iced water to cool, then squeeze in a clean tea towel to remove as much excess water as possible and chop it finely.
2. Melt 75 g of the butter in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes or until tender. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Spread the spinach mixture on a plate to cool. Transfer to a bowl, then add the ricotta, flour, egg, 60 g of the Grana, the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently to form a dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm, this helps the gnocchi hold together during cooking.
3. Bring a large heavy-based saucepan of salted water to the boil. Working in batches and using 2 wet dessertspoons, scoop up a spoonful of mixture and use the second spoon to slide it into the water. Cook for
1–2 minutes or until they rise to the surface. As they rise, scoop them up with a slotted spoon, drain well and place on a platter.
4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small heavy-based saucepan over high heat and cook until it turns dark nut-brown.
5. Sprinkle the remaining Grana over the gnocchi, pour the brown butter over the top and serve
Extract from ‘A Lombardian Cookbook’ by Alessandro Pavoni and Roberta Muir. Published by Penguin, available August 26.