Gnocchi Verdi (Small Spinach Dumplings)

9:00 pm on 20 June 2005

(Serves 6 as a starter)

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh spinach
  • 100g butter
  • 175 g Cottage Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 3 level tablespoons flour
  • 75g grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Nutmeg

Method

Wash the spinach thoroughly.

Put the spinach in a large pan with a closely fitting lid. (Sometimes I use a wok). Cook without extra water, over a moderate heat for about 5 minutes, or until the spinach is just soft. Drain thoroughly in a sieve, pressing out as much moisture as possible. Chop the spinach finely.

Melt 50g of butter in a pan add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly until all the moisture has evaporated. If necessary, squeeze the spinach in sieve again. Rub the cottage cheese through a sieve, add to the spinach and cook for a further 3 – 4 minutes, stirring all the time. Remove the pan from the heat. Fold the eggs, lightly beaten, into the spinach. Stir in the cream, flour and half the grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste with the salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Turn the gnocchi mix into a flat dish and chill until firm.

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a little salt. Shape the gnocchi into small balls, about the size of a large chocolate, between floured hands. At this stage they can be placed on a tray of non-stick baking paper and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up again.

When ready to cook, drop the balls into the simmering water, a few at a time. As soon as they puff up and rise to the surface, remove them carefully with a perforated spoon.

Arrange the gnocchi in a buttered oven-to-table ware dish, or individual ramekins, melt the remaining butter and pour over them. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and put the dish under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and browned.

Serve at once.

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