Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi with Oregano Butter Sauce

Easier to make than most people realize, spinach ricotta gnocchi is an excellent starter to any meal or a light Mediterranean entrée on a laid-back weeknight.

1 bag fresh baby spinach, stalks removed and rinsed
1-1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano, divided
3 eggs, beaten
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup flour, plus 1-3/4 cups flour to dust hands
1 TBS sea salt
Melted butter and minced oregano

Rinse spinach and slightly shake dry. Place in medium saucepan, cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes or until wilted. Drain and set aside to cool.

Put spinach in colander and press out all liquid.  Transfer to food processor and chop finely.

Place spinach in large bowl. Add ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup Parmigiana Reggiano, eggs and nutmeg. Stir well until combined.  Stir in flour until a soft, pliable dough.

Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 TBS sea salt.

With floured hands, break off walnut-sized pieces of mixture and roll into balls. Drop into boiling water. Cook until gnocchi rise to surface, about 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon, drain in colander.

Divide gnocchi among 4 to 6 shallow bowls. Serve with melted butter and a sprinkling of oregano. Dust with remaining Parmigiana Reggiano.

Serves 4

Gary: The astringency of the spinach, though mellowed by the ricotta cheese, would suggest a bright, crisp white wine, as would the salt in the Parmigiana Reggiano and the richness of the melted butter. Look for a crisp but textured Pinot Grigio or the slightly earthy Grillo from Italy, the aromatic and brilliant Verdejo and spritzy Txakoli de Guetaria from Spain, the very crisp Picpoul or “lip smacker” from the south of France or the lovely Moschefilero from Greece.  While the Gnocchi can add a lot of weight to this dish, the freshness of these wines should bring you back for more. If you prefer richer whites, the selections from the halibut recipe would also work.

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