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.

Ingredients:
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

Preparation:
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.