So this dish is fairly indulgent for a weeknight but it is so delicious and you really don't need to eat much of it. The only thing to bare in mind about this recipe is that there is 4 hours resting time, so you can either prepare them the night before you plan to cook them and then boil them fresh.
First, get the spinach ready. I used fresh baby spinach, but you could just as easily use frozen spinach. If using fresh spinach, rinse the spinach leaves then put them in a pot with a teaspoon of water and turn on medium low heat. the water that clings to the leaves is enough. Cook the spinach with a lid on for a couple of minutes until it breaks down, then cool it. Once it is cool, squeeze all the excess water out of the spinach, chop roughly and set aside.
Chop the onion finely and saute in a little butter, once the onion is soft add the spinach and briefly mix through. Once this mixture is completely cool add to the ricotta with 2 tablespoons of semolina flour, the Parmesan and some salt and pepper to taste.
Now this is the 'tricky' part. In a large backing tray lay the semolina about 1cm deep on the bottom. I used about 500g of semolina flour for this. Then you have to shape the gnocchi....because there is basically no flour in the mixture it is fairly sticky and difficult to shape into gnocchi. I used to teaspoons and tried to make quenelles . You need to be patient, as you don't want them to be too big. About 2cm each should be the max. As you make them drop them onto your semolina tray. Once you have them all layed out, cover with about the same amount of semolina flour and put in the fridge.
Leave them to rest in the fridge for 2 hours and then turn each of them and leave for another 2 hours. This step is crucial, if you skip it they will fall apart when you boil them.
Once the gnocchi have rested, bring some water to a gentle boil and drop in your gnocchi being careful not to cook too many at once. How many is too many? Well...when they form one big gnocchi ball then it is too many, so try not to do that. Once the gnocchi float to the top they are ready.
I served them with some roasted baby tomatoes that I roasted in the oven for 5 minutes but you could easily do without.
- 500g spinach, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- salt and pepper
- 500g fresh ricotta (I used low fat but you MUST use the fresh kind not the processed kind that comes in a container)
- 1kg of semolina flour (only a couple of tablespoons goes into the gnocchi)
- 2 tbs Parmesan and extra for serving
- baby tomatoes (optional)
There is a bit of effort involved but the result is well worth it.