Spinach ricotta gnudi, made with no wheat flour, are my latest recipe, just in time for Passover. This week marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday celebrating the Israelites liberation from Egypt and also Spring, rebirth, renewal, freedom, belonging, ...you get the picture. Since the Israelites had to flee their oppressors quickly they didn't have time to allow bread to rise, so the story goes. To commemorate that time, during Passover Jews eat foods made with matzo meal or matzo cake meal, but not with regular flour. Most other non-wheat flours are also not allowed.
Gnudi are a little larger and plumper than gnocchi but somewhat similar. Some people think of them as "ravioli without the pasta." This recipe is very easy because you use one of those "blocks" of frozen spinach. The secret is getting as much water as possible out of the spinach. You want the dough to be very stiff. Rolling the dumplings in potato starch also helps keep them from falling apart in the water when you boil them. Since I used potato starch instead of flour, these gnudi are also gluten free. I adapted my recipe from the Weelicious recipe for Spinach Gnocchi.
The dumplings are primarily made from ricotta and parmesan cheese, so they are very rich. I like them served simply with brown butter and sage, but you could also serve them with tomato sauce if you prefer, but do cook them in butter before adding sauce. When you brown them they get slightly crisp on the outside, without browning they can seem a little gummy.
Passover Spinach Ricotta Dumplings
Serves 4, makes about 35 small dumplings
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
1 cup skim milk ricotta cheese
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
Pinch fresh grated nutmeg
5 Tablespoons potato starch, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter
12 fresh sage leaves
3-4 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
Cook the spinach according to instructions, let cool then squeeze all the water out of it as possible using your hands and a colander.
Combine the spinach, ricotta, parmesan cheese, egg yolk, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons potato starch in a medium bowl. Mix until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Use a teaspoon to portion lumps of dough, and roll into balls. Place on a rimmed sheet pan. When all dough is rolled, dust the dumplings with the remaining 3 tablespoons of potato starch and roll them until they are coated on all sides.
Boil a pot of water and add a pinch of salt. Gently place the dumplings in the water and simmer them until they rise to the surface, about 3-4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place on a plate.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the sage leaves and the drained dumpling. Cook, rolling to brown lightly. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese before serving.