June 20, 2013
Stopped by a farmer's stand this morning and found such beautiful spinach I couldn't resist buying it. And, mostly because I was doing my best to avoid work, I decided to make a lovely little lunch.
What should I call these? Gnudi? Dumplings? Gnocchi? Not quite sure. What they are is delicate and very delicious.
a scant pound of spinach (14 ounces would be fine)
3 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of very finely chopped onion.
1 heaping cup of ricotta – drained if watery
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 egg yolks
½ cup flour; you may need 2-4 more tablespoons
zest of one lemon
Grating of fresh nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash the spinach well and remove thick stems. Blanch quickly in boiling salted water. Drain; when the spinach is cool, squeeze it dry with your hands. Dry it again; you want as little liquid as possible in the spinach. Then chop it.
Put the butter in a large skillet and add the onion, cooking for about 5 minutes until it is fragrant and golden. Add the spinach and stir about, just to combine. Taste for seasoning and allow to cool.
Consider the ricotta; is it watery? Drain it well. Then add the Parmesan, egg yolks, lemon zest and nutmeg. Fold in a half cup of flour; if it’s still loose, add up another quarter cup to firm up the batter.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt., and reduce heat to a rolling simmer. Use two spoons to form dumplings and drop into water.
Poach 8-9 dumplings at a time, for about 3 minutes or until they float to the surface of the water.
You now have a couple of options. You can scoop them out and serve them naked, with just a bit of melted butter on top. You can serve them with a simple tomato sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Or you can take them one step farther, and make a gratin out of them in the following fashion:
Scoop the dumplings into a buttered baking dish and drizzle them with melted butter and a sprinkling of grated cheese. Put them in preheated 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until they’re lightly browned and the cheese has melted.
This should make an extremely satisfying lunch (or supper) for four people.
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