I love Italian food, and not just because I’m Italian! This recipe for Simple Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi is a little different than some of the more traditional Italian dishes you may enjoy, but there’s always room to add something new to the mix. Enjoy these as a main dish, or even as an appetizer.
I made this recipe for Simple Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi many years ago and really liked it, but I never made it again. I’m not sure why, because it’s really good!
This isn’t my recipe, but it’s one I saw on the cooking show, Extra Virgin. Do you remember that one? It was hosted by Chef Gabriel Corcos and his wife, actress Debi Mazar.
Chef Gabriel called his recipe Naked Gnocchi with Spinach and Ricotta. I call it delicious!
Do you ever go out for a nice dinner and order something like ravioli, and when your dish arrives you’re surprised to see, like, 4 ravioli on your plate? Then you scream to yourself in your head, “Where are the rest of my ravioli?” No? Just me?
I’m always pleasantly surprised after I eat those four ravioli that I’m full, but not so full that I’d pass on dessert. Come on, now! These little gnocchi are sort of like that. They’re filling and perfect as a main dish, but you could easily turn them into an appetizer.
I’m used to gnocchi make with potatoes, and formed with a fork to sort of roll them up like a little shell. But these gnocchi are made with ricotta cheese as the main ingredient, then they’re shaped into balls (a little bigger than standard gnocchi) and popped into the oven to bake instead of boil in water.
If you’re a ricotta cheese fan, you might like a few of my other recipes like this Skillet Pizza with Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts and Ricotta. It’s a nice dish with great fall flavors. For dessert, you can choose from Mini Blood Orange Scented Chocolate Ricotta Cakes (so pretty, too) or Cherry-Almond Ricotta Ice Cream because who doesn’t love ice cream!
Chef Gabriel served his gnocchi with a butter and sage sauce, but I served mine over a spoonful or two of marinara sauce. I also reduced the recipe by half to deliver 20 of these gnocchi balls (they’re a little less than two inches in diameter). You could serve four people FIVE of these gnocchi each. Take that, four-piece ravioli meals!
These Simple Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi are delicious and they’re so much easier to make than potato-based gnocchi. I can’t wait to make these again. No more waiting years and years for me!
Yields Serves 4
- 6 ounces fresh spinach (stems removed)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus a bit extra for garnish
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Marinara sauce for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of a glass baking dish and set aside.
- Add the spinach to a large skillet over medium heat with about 1 tablespoon water. Cook, stirring, until wilted or for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Add the ricotta, egg yolk, Parmesan, and salt and pepper to a large bowl. When the spinach has cooled to the touch, chop it into very small pieces. Squeeze as much liquid from the spinach as you can.
- Add the spinach to the ricotta mixture, and mix to thoroughly combine.
- Form the mixture into 2-inch balls and place each in the baking dish so they do not touch.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, then turn on the broiler to allow the tops to turn lightly golden.
- Remove from the oven and serve warm over a spoonful or two of marinara sauce.
- Garnish with extra Parmesan and black pepper.
You can easily double the recipe to serve a larger group.