Spinach, Pancetta and Ricotta Gnocchi

Cooking GnocchiGnocchiCourtesy of Chef Pat Lee of Steamboat Inn

Serves 6

These are called gnocchi verdi in Liguria because of the spinach, and in Florence, ravioli nudi, or nude ravioli, because their ingredients are similar to those used in stuffing pasta.

2 pounds of fresh spinach or 2 packages (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup finely chopped pancetta (or prosciutto)
2 T butter or renderings from the pancetta
1 small onion, minced
1-1/2 – 2 cups ricotta
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 ounces (about 1-1/4 cups) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly grated pepper

If using fresh spinach, stem it and then steam or saute until limp. Drain, cool and squeeze it dry. Finely chop and set a side.

Cook pancetta until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan and add the onion and saute until softened and add the chopped spinach. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Beat in the ricotta, 1-1/2 cups flour, 1 cup grated Parmesan, the eggs, salt, nutmeg and pepper. The mixture will be soft.

Lightly flour your hands, and shape the mixture into balls 1/2” to 3/4” diameter. Place on lined baking sheets, cover and refrigerate several hours to firm up.

Drop into boiling salted water. After they rise to the surface cook for 3-4 minutes longer. Remove with a slotted spoon to a pan coated with sauce.

Serve at once.