Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato and Roasted Capsicum Sauce
Have you ever made gnocchi before?
They are the Italian style ‘dumplings’ usually made from potato and flour
I have, and ended up over-dosing on it.
It was years ago when I made pumpkin gnocchi. I didn’t dry out the pumpkin enough so I had to keep adding more and more flour and it made the most e-n-o-r-m-o-u-s quantity.
It was all I ate for about the next 3 weeks. Panfried gnocchi with eggs for breakfast, gnocchi in tomato sauce for lunch and gnocchi as my starchy carb for dinner.
After that experience I really couldn’t stand the thought of making (or eating) gnocchi again…
Until I discovered ricotta gnocchi
It’s light, it’s delicious, and it is much faster and easier to make than potato or pumpkin gnocchi.
You can actually make it with just ricotta, but the dietitian in me loves that these gnocchi include something green (you can read all about the health benefits of spinach below)
Now lets face it, it is even easier to go and buy gnocchi already done, but where is the fun in that?
Besides, the bought one won’t taste this gooooood!
- 350g fresh ricotta
- 250 grams frozen spinach, thawed, excess liquid removed and chopped
- 25g (1/4 cup) fresh parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
- 1 tablespoon flour, plus approx 2 tablespoons extra for rolling
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 500 gram jar of your favourite pasta sauce
- 2 roasted capsicums (I used jar ones), optional
- ¼ cup fresh basil, plus extra to serve
- salad, to serve
- In a large bowl, mix ricotta with the spinach, parmesan cheese, flour, nutmeg, egg and pepper
- Mix together well and then use a tablespoon to scoop out even amounts of mix, roll into torpedo shapes and toss in the extra flour - mix should make around 24 gnocchi.
- Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil.
- Gently lower the gnocchi into the water, cooking around 6-8 gnocchi at a time - do not let the water come off the boil.
- Cook until the gnocchi float to the surface.
- Immediately remove gnocchi from pan with a slotted spoon and drain well.
- Meanwhile, heat the pasta sauce in a saucepan .
- Roughly chop roasted capsicum and stir through the warmed pasta sauce along with the fresh basil.
- To serve, place ¼ of the pasta sauce on the base of each of the serving dishes and top with ¼ of the gnocchi
- Serve with extra parmesan cheese, extra basil and a salad
- The ricotta must be very dry, so buy the one from the deli that they cut into wedges. If it is quite wet, place it on paper towel first to remove as much moisture as possible
- I squeezed excess water out of the spinach as well to make it as dry as possible. There was a lot!
- You could use fresh spinach, which you cook, but I was looking for the quick and easy option
- You can make your own pasta sauce. But trust me, you have reached domestic goddess status since you have made gnocchi (no matter how easy it was). No need to top that one!
Why is spinach so healthy for me?
The dark green colour of spinach leaves is due to high levels of chlorophyll (green pigment in plants which allows them to absorb light and produce energy through photosynthesis) and health promoting phytonutrients called carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin). These phytonutrients have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, but are especially important for healthy eye-sight, as they help to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
Spinach has good levels of iron, but not quite as much as Popeye made out! Food contains two forms of iron: ‘haem’ iron and ‘non haem’ iron. Haem iron is found in animal products and is the most readily absorbed form of iron for the body. Non haem iron is found in plant foods (such as spinach). It is still an excellent source of iron, but as it is not as concentrated as haem iron, we need more of it. This is only really an issue for vegetarian or vegan women who have heavy cycles!