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James Beard's Gnocchi Verdi



Stonewall Kitchen, LLC

"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart,
who looks at her watch."

~ James Beard

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Gnocchi Verdi
Beard on Pasta
by James Beard, 1983, Alfred A. Knopf


“These are sometimes called malfatti, which means ‘badly made’, because
they are so delicate that when they are cooked they are quite uneven in
shape. You have to skim them out of the water very, very carefully because
of their fragility, but they will repay the care: they just melt on your
tongue when you eat them.”

6 servings

12 ounces cooked spinach, drained and chopped
(approximately 1 pound fresh spinach, or
two 1-ounce packages frozen spinach)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup [1 stick] butter, melted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Put the spinach in a saucepan with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, butter, and
ricotta. Stir it over low heat for about 5 minutes to dry it out. Remove
from the heat and beat in the eggs, 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan, and the flour.
Set the mixture aside to cool for 2 hours.
Dust a wooden board and your hands with flour. Pull off walnut-sized
pieces of the spinach mixture, and form croquettes the shape of a cork.
Roll them in the flour and, when they are all ready, drop them carefully
into a large pot of very gently simmering water. Don’t let the water boil,
or the action may cause the gnocchi to disintegrate. If the mixture seems
too soft, don’t worry, because the eggs and flour will hold the gnocchi
together when they come into contact with the simmering water.
When the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, they are finished cook-
ing. Skim them off with a slotted spoon, drain them well, and place them
in an ovenproof baking dish lightly coated with butter. Pour the melted
butter over them, sprinkle with the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and heat
in a 350-degree [F.] oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

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