Apr 12, 2013

Spinach gnocchi

It's the third time I've used my new potato press and I'm liking it more every time. No mashing will do. Potatoes from the press come out light and airy. The fluffy puree will incorporate perfectly just about any vegetable or cheese to make a full, delightful meal. We are getting to be very fond of gnocchi.

They were making gnocchi di spinacci on La Prova del Cuoco on RaiUno this afternoon (OK...at noon). No recipe given or written. Just a chef having fun. Fresh spinach, potatoes, one egg, salt and enough flour to hold it all together. I did go back to my gnocchi* recipe for some exact numbers. In the end, I used all the potatoes and spinach I had laying around. One thing I don't like, it's my vegetables getting soft and old.

When I look at those Italians in the kitchen, I can never just sit and watch. I'm already in the kitchen making a mess and noises, missing most of the show. I can't help it, their energy is contagious. 

Gnocchi is a very easy and a beautiful recipe. I feel like my Grandma, rolling dough, sifting flour, forming little shapes. It went a lot faster today, since I didn't have to follow or read any instructions (Grandma didn't either). I made a lot of them, thinking I'd have lunch for two days for the three of us. I don't think so.

Recipe adapted from La Prova del Cuoco

time: 1 hour


1 kg (2.25 lbs) cooked whole potatoes
130 g (5 oz) fresh spinach
1 egg
300 g (2 cups) flour + more for forming gnocchi
1/2 teaspoon salt (less if you cooked potatoes in salt)
pepper to taste


Peel hot potatoes. Put them through the press into a large bowl. 

In a food processor, chop spinach till finest possible. In a medium bowl, mix it with one egg. Add it to the potatoes. Mix it with a wooden spatula till combined.

On a rolling board, sift flour and salt. Transfer potato/spinach mass on top of flour. Blend it with your hands, with a help of a scraper, till you reach a workable consistency. Add flour if necessary, but keep it to the minimum or your gnocchi will get tough. Form a bowl. Using a plastic scraper, cut some dough from the mass. With your hands, form a long bar, .5inch/1-2cm in diameter. Cut .5inch/1-2cm pieces and using the back of a fork, form gnocchi. Or not. You can just throw the little squares in the hot water.

Forming gnocchi:

  1. Press the small piece of dough gently in the middle with your thumb against the back of your fork. 
  2. Fold the piece of dough in half by pressing it again (on the side closer to the end of the fork) with your thumb. 
  3. Slid it gently toward the end of the fork closing the gnocchio at the same time. The point is to give them a nice shape and some ridges.
Prepare a ceramic dish with a lid. Warm it up with hot water. Brush it olive oil.

In a medium/large pot, bring 7 cups of water to boil. Add salt. Lower the heat to medium/high (I set my stove top on 6 on a scale from 1-10). Transfer gnocchi to the boiling water, 30 at the time. Boil for 3-4 minutes from the time you threw the last gnocchio in the water.  

Using a slotted ladle, take gnocchi out of water and place the in the ceramic dish. Close the lid, shake it gently to prevent gnocchi from sticking. Repeat the process, adding more olive oil after each load. Gnocchi are best when eaten right away. But they stay warm and good in the ceramic dish for about 2 hours and later, I reheat them on a skillet with olive oil.

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