Traditionally, gnocchi are made with potatoes and flour, but this ricotta version is such a nice variation. It’s as if using ricotta makes the gnocchi so much lighter, it really delivers that airy pillow-like texture.
These gnocchi are very similar to malfatti, although I do use some flour for these dumplings. The spinach gives them a nice green appearance and combines wonderfully with the creamy ricotta and sharp Parmesan cheese.
I used thyme and lemon in this version, but you can add some grated nutmeg or oregano instead.
I love to serve these with sage butter (melt a big knob of butter and fry some sage leaves until crispy) or simply a generous drizzle of good olive oil. You could also serve them with a tomato sauce though, or make a simple lemon cream sauce.
It’s a great and light vegetarian dinner or lunch, perfect for those long summer evenings.
Ricotta & Spinach Gnocchi
7 oz. (200 gr.) spinach
3 oz. or 1/3 cup (80 gr.) ricotta
½ cup (60 gr.) flour
½ cup (50 gr.) grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
salt and pepper
grated lemon zest and thyme leaves (or other additions of your choice)
- Thoroughly drain defrosted spinach. Or pour boiling water over fresh spinach and stand for 2 minutes (or until wilted), drain well.
- Wrap a clean kitchen towel around the spinach and squeeze it out really well above your kitchen sink.
- Place the ricotta, flour, eggs and Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Chop the spinach and add this as well. Follow with the additions of your choice (in my case: thyme and grated lemon zest) and finish with salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix everything really well with a fork. The mixture should be completely combined.
- Shape the ricotta mixture into small balls, the size of big walnuts. Wet your hands a little to make this easier. If the mixture really is too soft to shape: add some extra flour first.
- Put the gnocchi in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Cook the gnocchi in boiling water for about 4 minutes. They will rise to the top of the water when they’re done. You may need to do this in batches when you’re cooking for more than 2.
- Remove them with a spoon and serve immediately with the sauce of your choice (see post for suggestions) and a generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese.
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