Gnocchi Verde (Spinach Dumplings)
Yield: Serves 4-6.
Spinach dumplings accompanied with a tomato and cream sauce that adds flavor as well as color. Serve as a side dish or as a meatless entrée, or for a typical multi-course Northern Italian meal, present as a first course.
2 bags (12 ounces each) fresh spinach
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Few grindings fresh black pepper
Few grindings fresh nutmeg
Tomato and Cream Sauce (recipe follows)
Wash spinach and remove tough stems. Plunge briefly into boiling water. Cook only until limp. Rinse with cold water. Drain, squeeze dry, and chop. Melt butter in a small skillet. Add spinach and cook until dry (it will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan). Blend in the ricotta cheese. Heat thoroughly and empty into a bowl. Stir in eggs, flour, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover with foil and chill until firm -- about 1 hour. Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Take spinach mixture up by tablespoonfuls and shape gently into balls. Roll in flour. Drop 5 or 6 at a time into the boiling water. Cook until they rise to the top and are slightly puffed. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper toweling. Serve Gnocchi Verde with Tomato and Cream Sauce.
Tomato and Cream Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium celery stalk, chopped
1 can (35 ounces) Italian tomatoes, drained and broken up
1/2 teaspoon salt
Few grindings of fresh black pepper
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Melt butter in a skillet. Cook onion, carrot, and celery until onion becomes translucent. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cover and cook over low heat until vegetables are tender. Puree through a food mill or use food processor. Return to heat and cook until thickened. Stir in cream. Heat thoroughly and serve over Spinach Dumplings. Makes about 4-1/2 cups.