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Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi recipe

Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi recipe

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  • Ingredients
  • Pasta
  • Pasta types
  • Gnocchi

These delicious Italian dumplings are incredibly easy to make. Drained ricotta is blended with Parmesan and spinach, shaped, cooked and served with a walnut-sage butter sauce.

5 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 350g ricotta cheese
  • 120g spinach, blanched and chopped
  • 80g finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 65g plain flour
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 large handful walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 15 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

MethodPrep:2hr ›Cook:10min ›Extra time:8hr drying › Ready in:10hr10min

  1. Drain ricotta in a sieve set over a bowl. Cover and chill overnight.
  2. Squeeze excess moisture from spinach and mix with ricotta, Parmesan and egg in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper then stir in flour until mixture comes together to form a soft, sticky dough.
  3. Divide dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, roll halves into a log shape about 40cm long. Cut logs into 2cm pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll pieces into oval shapes. Place on a baking parchment-lined tray.
  4. Carefully drop the gnocchi, one by one, into a large pot of salted boiling water. When they rise to the surface, cook for another minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove gnocchi and transfer to a warmed plate with 30g of melted butter to stop them sticking. Keep warm.
  5. Melt remaining butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add walnuts and cook until the butter turns a nut-brown colour. Add sage leaves and lemon juice and stir.
  6. To serve, pour the butter sauce over the gnocchi.

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Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi

Elise founded Simply Recipes in 2003 and led the site until 2019. She has an MA in Food Research from Stanford University.

If you have, then you know that the process can be tricky at best.

What you want are light, fluffy dumpling pillows. What we often get is dense, chewy dough balls.

Gnocchi with ricotta cheese is much more forgiving than the potato version. The dough holds together better, and the result is likely to be more pillow-like than chewy.

I was taught this approach by a wonderful local Italian chef, Biba Caggiano, who showed me that the trick to a light gnocchi was in how you rolled them out.

You want a light touch, gently stretching the dough outwards as you roll it into shape. A heavy touch will compress the dough.

The sauce is a simple one, just tomatoes and goat cheese with a hint of garlic. But you can use any favorite sauce with the gnocchi.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (8 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, or as needed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 dash crushed red pepper flakes (Optional)
  • 6 basil leaves, finely shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small chunks

Stir together the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan Cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl until evenly combined. Mix in 1 cup of flour. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough.

Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, and roll into 1/2-inch-thick ropes on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces, and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, and cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in diced tomatoes and red pepper flakes bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in shredded basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil the gnocchi until they float to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes, then drain.

To assemble the dish, stir the cubed mozzarella cheese into the sauce and allow the heat of the sauce to soften, but not melt the cheese. Place gnocchi into a serving bowl, and spoon sauce overtop.

In addition to the method described above, there are other ways to cook gnudi. Let’s see some of them

Stir fried Gnudi

After boiling, you can stir-fry gnudi in a pan with butter and sage for a few minutes. This step makes gnudi certainly tastier but also heavier because they fry in butter.

If you cannot serve gnudi immediately or you prefer a more crunchy consistency, after having drained, place them in a baking dish. Sprinkle with grate parmigiano and butter Then brown in the oven at 200°C (390 F) with grill on for a few minutes. Remove and let them rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

Recipe Summary

  • 6 pounds fresh spinach, stems trimmed
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese (1 pound), preferably fresh
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add one-third of the spinach and boil just until wilted. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a colander and let cool under running water. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Squeeze the spinach as dry as possible.

Finely chop the cooked spinach and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the egg yolks, ricotta, 1 1/2 cups of the Parmesan, 1/2 cup of the flour, the salt, pepper, grated lemon zest and nutmeg. Stir to form a soft dough.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 1-inch-thick rope. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. Using floured hands, roll the pieces into balls and flatten slightly. Transfer the gnocchi to a generously floured rimmed baking sheet.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour half of the melted butter into a large baking dish. Add one-fourth of the gnocchi to the boiling water, gently stir once and let the gnocchi rise to the surface. Simmer the gnocchi until tender and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the buttered baking dish. Cover with foil and cook the remaining gnocchi in batches. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

In a large, deep skillet, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of melted butter and 1/2 cup of Parmesan with the reserved gnocchi cooking water and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and toss to coat. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan and serve right away.


  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese (1 ounce)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup plain, dry, fine bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and shaved ricotta salata, for serving

In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the spinach until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Cool the spinach in a bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze dry. Wipe out the pot, fill with water and bring to a gentle simmer.

Meanwhile, transfer the spinach to a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid and puree until very smooth add a bit more cooking liquid if needed.

Scrape 1 cup of the spinach puree into a large bowl. (Reserve any remaining puree for another use.) Mix in the grated Grana Padano cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in 1/4 cup of the flour to form a soft dough.

Spread the remaining 1 cup of flour in a pie plate and dust a large rimmed baking sheet with flour. Gently roll the gnocchi dough into 1-inch balls. Carefully roll the gnocchi in the flour, shake off the excess and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Add salt to the simmering water. Add half of the gnocchi to the pot and cook until they rise to the surface, then simmer until cooked through, about 3 minutes (about 5 minutes total cooking time). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a platter. Cover loosely with foil. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.

In a skillet, cook the butter over moderate heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Spoon the brown butter over the gnocchi. Top with Parmigiano and ricotta salata and serve.

Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi

Cheesy spinach puffs baked with a little butter, then topped with more cheese. Hey, at least the spinach is good for you.


  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Plus Additional 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter To Drizzle On Top
  • ⅓ cups Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 package (10 Oz. Package) Frozen Spinach, Thawed And Drained Well
  • 1 whole Egg Yolk
  • ½ cups Ricotta Cheese, Low-fat Is Fine
  • ½ cups Grated Parmesan, Plus 1/3 Cup To Sprinkle On Top
  • 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 dash Ground Pepper
  • ⅓ cups Grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 425ºF. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and saute onion until tender. Add spinach and cook for 3 minutes, combining thoroughly.

Transfer to a mixing bowl to cool slightly before adding egg yolk, ricotta, 1/2 cup parmesan, flour, salt and pepper.

Shape small egg shapes of the mixture, using approximately 1 tablespoonful per shape. Place in a baking dish and drizzle with the remaining melted butter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 cup grated parmesan.

Cook With Confidence: Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

I&aposm a pretty adventurous cook, but I&aposve always found homemade pasta a little intimidating. I mean, spaghetti noodles seem pretty straightforward, but what about all those funky little shapes like orecchiette, farfalle, or gemelli? When I saw the recipe for Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi in the February issue of Sunset, I was intrigued. I knew I would have to conquer my fear of making pasta eventually, and this seemed as good a place as any to start. There was no need for special equipment and I had most of the ingredients on hand. I told myself that if I failed, the result would just be ugly pasta covered in a brown butter sauce, which couldn&apost be all bad. Brown butter can do no wrong.

So, exactly what are gnocchi? They&aposre these little pillowy dough dumplings that are typically made with potatoes and flour. Like many Italian dishes, variations exist between different regions. This recipe is actually a Tuscan variety of gnocchi, made with flour, ricotta, and spinach. Next to brown butter, spinach is the star of this dish. It&aposs used both in the dough and stirred into the sauce at the end. Sunset recommended using whole, mature bundles of spinach rather than the widely available baby leaves. If you&aposve only ever had the flavorless, pre-washed baby leaves sold in most grocery stores, let me tell you that fresh spinach is on another level entirely in terms of taste. In terms of preparation, well, fresh spinach requires a few rinses to get rid of all the grit trapped in its leaves. Thank goodness for salad spinners!

The first step in this recipe requires steaming some of the spinach for the dough. It always amazes me how a huge pile of spinach can wilt down to a mere half cup when it&aposs all said and done. After steaming, squeeze out the excess liquid and finely chop the spinach. Now it&aposs time to make the dough!

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1. First make the gnocchi. Place the wilted spinach in a sieve or colander and squeeze as much liquid out as possible, then finely chop.
2. Place all the ingredients for the gnocchi, including the spinach into a large bowl and gently mix together until it comes together to form a soft dough. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and, on a floured surface and with floured hands, roll into 3 cm thick sausages and cut into even 2 cm pieces.
3. Press each piece gently with the back of a fork or roll each piece onto a gnocchi board.
4. Sprinkle lightly with flour and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
5. Next start the puttanesca sauce. In a large frying pan, fry the onion, garlic, chilli and anchovies until softened and fragrant and the anchovies have disintegrated.
6. Add the wine and simmer until reduced to one third of the amount. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.
7. While this is on the simmer you can start to cook your gnocchi. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Boil gnocchi for about 2 minutes (they will rise to the surface when they are cooked) and remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
8. Now add the olives, capers and herbs to your puttanesca sauce and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste.

To serve your gnocchi, heat a little butter in a large pan and fry the gnocchi in batches just to get some colour on them.
Arrange the gnocchi and baby spinach onto serving plates and spoon over a generous amount of puttanesca sauce. Top with parmesan shavings and drizzle with olive oil.

For a slightly different serving variation on the gnocchi try this:

Heat 50 g butter and 2 cloves crushed garlic in a large frying pan until foaming. Fry the gnocchi in the butter and serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon, fresh baby spinach and parmesan shavings.

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