Monday, November 30, 2009

Spinach and ricotta gnocchi

2 lbs fresh spinach or 1 box frozen, thawed
2 T butter
1 small finely chopped onion
½ c finely chopped proscuitto
1 lb or 1 15 oz container ricotta
1 ½ c plus more flour
1 ½ c parmesan
2 eggs
¼ t nutmeg

Put spinach in a large pot (with nothing else), and cook 2 to 3 minutes until wilted. Drain and cool. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the leaves. Finely chop the spinach. Melt butter in skillet over medium-low heat, add onion, cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add proscuitto, then spinach. Transfer to large bowl. With a wooden spoon, add in ricotta, 1 ½ cups of flour, 1 cup parmesan, eggs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. The mixture will be soft. Spread additional flour on a dinner plate. Shape the mixture into small balls, roll in flour to coat, and set aside. Bring a large pot of cold water just short of a boil and add salt. Add gnocchi in batches, a few at a time. After they rise to the surface, cook for 1 min more and remove with slotted spoon. Repeat.

Drizzle with a sage butter sauce (1 stick of butter melted in a small saucepan with several sage leaves) and remaining parmesan.

Note: these are even better when made ahead and reheated just before serving. This dish is one of my favorites, and an entertaining staple.

Cost: 2 boxes of frozen spinach run about $1 each, if you catch them on sale. Everything else I buy in bulk; pennies for the onion, flour, and nutmeg, 17 cents each for the eggs, $3 or so for the ricotta, and let's say another $2 for the proscuitto and parmesan. The sage butter sauce is optional, but add another $1 for a stick of butter and some fresh sage. $6.50 or so for the entire batch, which will be big. It'll feed two adults as a main course for at least two, possibly three, meals, and will go much farther as an appetizer.

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