Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spinach and Fromage Blanc Gnocchi

My sister and I have tried our hand at gnocchi quite a few times. Sometimes it ends up great, sometimes, not so much. This time, we found a recipe that makes gnocchi out of spinach and cheese.
This recipe is from our New Brooklyn Kitchen Cookbook, which features a variety of Brooklyn restaurants / recipes. This particular recipe is served at Convivium Osteria, which, coincidentally, my boss' son recently wrote about on his food blog (sidenote: cute blog, right?)

The original gnocchi recipe was actually prepared with sheep's milk ricotta and served with an asiago sauce. We decided to serve ours made with fromage blanc (instead of ricotta), and topped it with a pesto sauce. Pesto sauce is really quick and easy to make - no need to buy the store bought stuff! The recipe we used follows below.

I'm not sure what it was, but this gnocchi came out great when compared to our attempts at the potato versions. Maybe because we didn't have to worry about over-handling the potato and making the gnocchi tough. The dish is really heavy, so you will probably only want to eat a few of them. Even I couldn't eat more than four dumplings in one sitting!

{Basil for our pesto}

{Mixing up the spinach and fromage blanc}

{Shaping the gnocchi into ovals - the most time
consuming part of the process} 

{Dredging the gnocchi in flour} 

{Better than potato gnocchi!}

Spinach and Fromage Blanc Gnocchi, recipe adapted from The New Brooklyn Kitchen Cookbook

Makes about 30-32 dumplings, serving about 4-6 people

  • 1 pound organic spinach, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup fromage blanc
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
Pesto Sauce, recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cups coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
For the Pesto

With the food processor running, drop in garlic and finely chop. Stop the food processor and add the pine nuts, cheese, salt, pepper, and basil, and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil, blending until incorporated, but not completely smooth. Simple! 

For the Gnocchi

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the spinach and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until tender, but not mushy. Drain in a colander and use the back of a wooden spoon to force out any excess water (trust me, there will be a lot). Wrap the spinach in a clean dish towel, and wring out any remaining water. Spread the spinach on a dry surface. When the spinach is no longer steaming, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the ricotta and mix with a fork until well combined. Add the eggs, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup flour, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt. Mix until smooth. 

Place 1/2 cup of the remaining flour in a shallow dish, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, and lightly flour the parchment. Using two tablespoons, shape the mixture into ovals. Dredge the gnocchi in flour to coat, then tap off any excess. Place the gnocchi on the baking sheet and refrigerate for one hour. 

To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, add your pesto and warm over medium-low heat. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for about three minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the saucepan with the pesto sauce. Gently toss to coat. Divide among bowls and serve. 

Surprisingly, this tasted equally delicious when we re-heated it for lunch the next day. Hoorah! 

No comments :