Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

I was introduced to fried gnocchi at Le Maceo restaurant in Paris last October and it was so dazzlingly delicious that I was keen to make my own version.  I’ve never returned to its plainer-boiled cousin!

Gnocchi can be accompanied by many different sauces – it is incredibly versatile.  I’ve chosen spinach, but a simple fresh basil and tomato sauce is delicious too.

For this recipe,  local fresh spinach was out of season, so I’ve used frozen instead.  All ingredients are from my local independent greengrocer.

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g fresh spinach
  • 2 large garlic cloves (very finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp ricotta
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 15g parmesan
  • pinch of salt
to serve
  • small knob of farmhouse butter
  • a handful of sage or rosemary leaves
  • 150g spinach
  • small garlic cloves
  • grated parmesan (to top)

For the Gnocchi:

  • peel and chop the potatoes into quarters (or smaller, the smaller the pieces are the faster they cook)
  • place in the bottom section of a steamer and just cover with cold water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft
  • in the meantime, place 50g of spinach into the top section of the steamer and steam over the cooking potatoes until just wilted.  Remove, squeeze out any excess water and chop into smaller pieces
  • once soft remove the potatoes from the heat, drain and excess water and allow to steam dry, then mash until smooth
  • in a bowl add the ricotta, parmesan, finely chopped garlic cloves, lemon zest, pinch of salt and steamed chopped spinach, mix together
  • add the ricotta mix to the potatoes and stir together until the ricotta is evenly distributed
  • add the flour and stir until the mix becomes dough-like
  • on a floured surface knead the dough until smooth
  • still on a floured surface cut off a piece of the dough (about the size of a lemon) and roll out into a sausage shape. Cut into  2cm lengths and set aside on a tray lined with baking parchment. Repeat this step until all the dough is used
  • preheat the oven to 180°C/356°F/Gas mark 4
  • heat some olive oil in a frying pan and in batches fry the gnocchi on both sides until pale golden. Place the gnocchi on a lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until all the gnocchi is cooked.

To serve

  • in a separate frying pan melt a small knob of butter and add the garlic, rosemary leaves and 150g spinach. Cook until the spinach has wilted and the butter is hot
  • remove the gnocchi from the oven and add to the butter and spinach
  • service sprinkled with some extra parmesan cheese