Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi with a Fig chaser

Alright, so the question above is not that difficult, considering the answer is in the title of this post.

But I thought that the gnocchi and the reconstituted dried fig looked a bit unusual. I will start at the beginning...

The recipe for the Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi was in the Food section of Sunday Life magazine recently (by Karen Martini), and it spoke volumes to me with its ingredients of ricotta, parmesan and spinach, drifting in a dressing of burnt butter, sage and walnuts. The ricotta does need to be drained first, to remove as much water as possible, so you’ll need to do this the day before, by leaving the ricotta overnight, draining in a paper towel-lined sieve.

And I’ll tell you honestly (am I ever anything else?) – these are the best gnocchi I’ve ever had!

Here is the recipe (which I’ve changed slightly from the original):

Ricotta and Spinach Gnocchi with burnt butter, walnuts and sage

serves 4


350g fresh ricotta (I used low fat ricotta), drained overnight
120g spinach, blanched and chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper
½ cup plain flour
60g unsalted butter
Large handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
15 sage leaves
½ lemon, juiced


1. Drain ricotta in a sieve over a bowl. Cover and chill overnight.

2. Squeeze liquid 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 paper-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 2 tablespoons 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.

6. Add sage leaves. Add lemon juice (it’s gonna spit a bit!) and stir.

7. To serve, pour the butter sauce over the gnocchi.

Recipe adapted from Sunday Life magazine (5 July 2009)


Mix the ricotta, parmesan, egg and spinach, then add flour to form a dough

Roll dough into logs, cut and roll into oval gnocchi shapes

Cook gnocchi in boiling water; melt butter and walnuts to 'nut-brown' colour

This is an absolutely delicious, rich and wonderful gnocchi!

And where does the fig come in? Well, it was in a sweet soup made by my mother. The soup included slices of pawpaw, white cloud fungus and little dried figs. It smelt rather offensive and I had to add several spoonfuls of Splenda sweetener and sugar to make it palatable. It looks interesting, though...

Weird 'mum' soup


  1. oh yum, im not game enough to make my own gnocci/pasta. well done though they look delicious :)

  2. They look so good Belle! Burnt butter and sage sauce is a total winner. Hehe at the weird mum soup, I've seen that before but not with the little dried figs, they're quite cute actually :)

  3. I have been wanting to making gnocchi for some time but have been hesitant as I have never tried before. I think your claim that this is the best gnocchi you have ever tasted might make me give this recipe a go!

  4. So this is where I can use the huge bag of Splenda I scored with my GF&WS loot! Hehe!
    Oh and everyone's going gnocchi crazy... there must be something in the chilly, Sydney winter air! The ricotta gnocchi looks sooo good though!

  5. Wow! I haven't seen food this lovely in forever! Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. Have a great day!

  6. I love how you've used the figs! Isn't gnocchi making so rewarding :D

  7. Best gnocchi ever - ohhh.. sounds great. Perhaps this weekend calls for some gnocchi.

  8. Hey chica just passing on the Kreative Blogger award to you! You and your blog are such a darl! :)

  9. That first photo is stunning! And yuummm I want some of that gnocchi! Love the spinach and ricotta combo XD

  10. Your "weird 'mum' soup" title made me laugh! Growing up in an Asian household is a guarantee of interesting eating! It's convincing your western friends to try some of it that's really fun! :D

  11. this sounds great. the "fig chaser" is so funny!

  12. hi Betty - you should give it a go, no as hard as it seems!

    hi Steph - yes, the fig was very cute, but the soup - no so much!

    hi Rilsta - hope you take my recommendation on this one - it really is good.

    hi Trisha - gosh, that bag of Splenda was huge, not sure what I'll do with it either. Have you made any cakes with it yet?
    And thanks for the award!

    hi Regina - thanks! Loved your cards so much.

    hi Lorraine - yes, gnocchi-making is fun. But you already know that...

    hi Megan - hehe, yes burnt butter is always wonderful.

    hi Anita - love to see how you go with it.

    hi FFichiban - yes, ricotta and spinach is somehow more healthy than potato gnocchi, too.

    hi gummi baby - you've got that right! Although some western palates are really keen to try different things, which is great.

    hi Justin - thanks, though I'm not sure it had the same effect as a 'normal' chaser!

  13. I think it must be smelling lovely. Then when you had tasted it you would have felt wonderful. Foods like these are such an ecstasy.