RICOTTA AND SPINACH GNOCCHI WITH CRUSHED TOMATO SAUCE
1 C whole milk or part skim ricotta, well drained
½ C grated parmesan cheese
1 whole egg
¾ C all-purpose flour, more or less as needed
3 T fresh bread crumbs, toasted lightly
3 T spinach, cooked and well drained and chopped fine
1 C Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes, halved
3 T fresh, basil minced
½ ea. small shallot, minced
2 t garlic, minced
½ ea. anchovy fillet, minced or equal amount anchovy paste
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 T unsalted butter
Salt and black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves for serving
Prepare crushed tomato sauce: Combine halved cherry tomatoes, basil, shallot, anchovy, garlic, oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Toss to combine and crush lightly with the back of a spoon or potato masher. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Prepare the dumplings: Place the ricotta in the center of a square of cheesecloth or a double thickness of paper toweling. Gather up sides and tie with kitchen twine. Place in strainer set over a bowl and refrigerate for 1-3 hours to drain out as much liquid as possible.
Combine ricotta, grated parmesan, eggs, garlic, and chopped spinach in a bowl. Add the flour 1T at a time until a slightly stick dough forms. Roll dough into a rope about the width of finger (3/4” diameter) and cut into ¾” pieces. Arrange in a single layer on a lightly floured baking sheet. Dust lightly with flour and set aside.
Cook dumplings: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Reduce heat to a simmer and add dumplings in batches and stir gently. Cook until dumplings rise to the surface. As gnocchi rise to the surface, continue to cook about two minutes longer. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet. Reserve ¼ C gnocchi cooking water. When all dumplings have been cooked, melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the gnocchi, crushed tomato sauce, reserved gnocchi cooking water. Cook, tossing gently until sauce thickens slightly and coats the gnocchi, about 3 minutes. Plate and serve with additional parmesan, black pepper and fresh basil.
Serves 2 generously