rudely gesturing Italians people would consider this going against age-old tradition, however for those of us trying to lead a relatively low carb existence, this recipe for spinach and ricotta gnocchi with sage butter provides an easy and healthy spin on a classic Italian favourite. A simple how-to after the jump…
So, here’s what you’ll need: (serves 4)
For the gnocchi
600g fresh spinach leaves, washed, trimmed and chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese, drained if bought in brine solution
120g parmesan or grana padano cheese, finely grated
120g almond flour, dry-roasted in a pan (set a little aside for dusting later)
2 large eggs
1/2 lemon, finely zested
salt and white pepper
For the sage butter
200g unsalted butter
handful fresh sage, washed and trimmed
salt and pepper to season
Extra parmesan or grana padano cheese, to serve
Blanch the spinach in a pot of boiling water, and then quickly refresh the spinach in an ice bath as soon as it wilts. Remove the spinach from the ice bath and squeeze out all the water. Be very thorough with this step, as the gnocchi will not bind together if you don’t squish all the water out.
Combine the spinach with the rest of the gnocchi ingredients in a large bowl, and mix well with your hands. If you aren’t able to use large eggs, add the eggs in one by one to make sure your mixture doesn’t get too wet or remains too dry to bind together.
Begin forming the mixture into small balls; each should be about two bites in size, slightly larger than traditional gnocchi. Repeat with the rest of the mixture, and place the balls onto a flat roasting tray dusted with almond flour to prevent sticking. You can freeze the gnocchi at this point, just be sure to place them in an airtight container, and separate the layers with plastic wrap or greaseproof paper.
Bring a large pot of salted water up to a simmer, and carefully drop about 8-10 gnocchi into the water. Any more than this will cause the temperature of the water to drop, you’ll lose your simmer and the gnocchi will disintegrate in the water. Not kiff. Blanch for 4-5 minutes.
Heat the butter for the sauce in a pan on a medium-high heat. Once the butter is bubbling nicely, throw in the sage and then season with the salt and pepper. Do not allow the sage or the butter to discolour beyond a nice golden caramel colour. The subtlety of the ricotta doesn’t work well with a burnt butter sauce.
Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon. Before placing the gnocchi into your serving bowl or plate, rest the slotted spoon on some kitchen paper or a clean tea towel to catch the excess water. Place gnocchi in the bowl and spoon over a generous tablespoon or two of the sage butter and finish off with grated cheese.