SMALL SPINACH DUMPLINGS
To serve 4 to 6
4 tablespoons butter
2 ten-ounce packages frozen chopped
spinach, thoroughly defrosted,
squeezed completely dry, and
chopped very fine (about 1 1/2 cups),
or 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach,
cooked, squeezed and chopped
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
6 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup freshly grated imported
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
6 to 8 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
In an 8 to 10-inch enameled or stainless-steel skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of
butter over moderate heat. Add the chopped fresh or frozen spinach and
cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until almost all of the moisture
has boiled away and the spinach begins to stick lightly to the skillet.
Now add the 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese and cook, stirring, for 3 or 4 minutes longer.
With a rubber spatula, transfer the entire contents of the skillet to a large
mixing bowl and mix in the 2 lightly beaten eggs, 6 tablespoons of flour,
1/4 cup of the grated cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and nutmeg. Place in
the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the gnocchi mixture is
Preheat the broiler. Bring the 6 to 8 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of
salt to a simmer over moderate heat in a large soup pot or saucepan. Flour
your hands lightly and pick lip about 1 tablespoon of the chilled gnocchi
mixture at a time. Shape the tablespoon of dough into small balls about 1 1/2
inches in diameter. You can press the balls with the tines of a fork to create ridges.
Gently drop the balls into the simmering water and cook
them uncovered for 5 to 8 minutes, or until they puff slightly and are some-
what firm to the touch. With a slotted spoon, lift the gnocchi out of the
water and set them aside on a towel to drain.
Now pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a shallow 8-by-12-inch
flameproof dish and swirl the butter around until the bottom of the dish
glistens. Arrange the gnocchi in the dish in one layer about 1/4-inch apart,
dribble the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter over them, and sprinkle
the gnocchi with the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Set under the
broiler 4 inches from the heat for 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
Serve the gnocchi at once, directly from the baking dish. Serve additional
grated cheese separately, if you wish.