Spinach gnocchi w/ gorgonzola-walnut sauce

Spinach gnocchi

 

I first made this dish for my Arizona friend Steve and have made it several times since.  The goal in making spinach gnocchi is to avoid letting them get too heavy and doughy.  Keep a light touch on the flour.

  • 8 oz fresh baby spinach leaves (prepackaged are ideal)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp white pepper
  • 1 ¼- 1 ½ cup flour

 

Put spinach in a large microwave-proof bowl and microwave on high power for 2 minutes or until spinach is just wilted.  Allow spinach to cool until slightly warm and then put it in a clean kitchen towel.  Wring the kitchen towel to extract as much moisture as possible.  In a food processor, process spinach, egg, ricotta cheese, salt, nutmeg, white pepper and basil until smooth.  Add 1 cup flour and process.  Gradually add more flour until a sticky but formable dough forms.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board.  Using a floured knife, cut the dough into four equal pieces.  Roll each piece lightly in flour and set three of the pieces aside.  Gently pat the remaining piece into a log 1 ½ inches in diameter.  Cut the log with a floured knife into 12 pieces and lightly roll each piece in flour.  Set gnocchi on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray,  Repeat with the remaining three sections of dough.  Dip the knuckles of your index and middle finger in flour and press your knuckles lightly into each gnocchi to make an impression.

Gorgonzola walnut sauce

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 cup non-fat half and half
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • ½ tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh marjoram
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

In a sautee pan large enough to accommodate all of the gnocchi, heat the butter, add brandy and boil it down.  Disssolve cornstratch in the half and half and add to the pan, along with the gorgonzola cheese and pepper,  Stir frequently.  Large shiny bubbles will form.,  Keep stir until sauce is reduced in half.  Turn off heat and set sauce aside.

Bring a large quantity of water to boil.  Add about 1 tsp of oil to prevent gnocchi from sticking to each other.  When water comes to a full boil, drop gnocchi in one by one in rapid succession.  When all gnocchi float to the top, taste one for doneness.  If done, drain the gnocchi well and toss the gnocchi in the sauce.  Sprinkle with marjoram and parsley.  Spoon into shallow pasta plates and top  each serving with about 1 tbsp coarsely chopped walnuts.  Serves 4

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