A picture is worth a thousand lies. Take today’s photo for example.
I could tell you that I made that beautiful plate of light and fluffy spinach and ricotta gnocchi. I could also tell you that I painstakingly arranged them with garnish, and then carefully lighted the photograph. Lies. Lies. All lies.
The perfectly formed gnocchi shown in the photo were really made by Chef Gianluca Bennardo, at Trattoria Toscana in Maremma, Tuscany. He was kind enough to share his time and recipe with me on a visit last summer. I took the photo there, rushing outside like a hack for the last minutes of sunlight.
I actually did make his recipe at home, but my gnocchi were such ugly little balls that I didn’t bother taking a photo. (They were, however, delicious).
The truth is that gnocchi require practice. You need to play with the moisture levels of the spinach and ricotta, and adjust the flour. Chef Gianluca made it look easy. And yes, they are easy to make, but making them pretty is another matter entirely.
Practice and enjoy!
Check out our wine pairings to complement this recipe.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the spinach, basil, and parsley for 3 minutes. Cool them in ice water. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop finely. Add the eggs and butter, and whip together. Add the Parmigiano. Finally, mix in the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour in the refrigerator to firm up. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and (on a well-floured surface) form balls of about 1/2 ounce each.
Use the same procedure to prepare the ricotta gnocchi, mixing all the ingredients with the help of a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour in the refrigerator to firm up. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and (on a well-floured surface) form balls of about 1/2 ounce each.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, melt the butter with the marjoram. Add the gnocchi to the pan with the butter and serve immediately.
1. Total time to prepare was 2 hours, but please note there is also 1 hour rest time in the refrigerator.
2. Ricotta asciutta is “dry” ricotta. If you must use fresh ricotta, place in a sieve or cheese cloth in the refrigerator for a least a few hours to allow some of the moisture to drain. If the ricotta is too wet, it will be difficult to form the gnocchi. Since the moisture levels will vary, you will need to adjust flour levels accordingly. The end result should be light and fluffy, so be careful not to add too much flour.