26 November 2013

Spinach gnocchi with walnut and sage butter

Gnocchi, gnocchi, gnocchi... it's almost my bane, as I always keep coming back to it and could eat truck loads of it. That is especially the case if I combine it with some sort of a sage butter and a fresh salad like in today's post! I cooked this dish in the late summer, but never got around posting it. Maybe now it can bring a tiny bit of summer back during these dark November evenings.

Ingredients for the spinach gnocchi:

800g new potatoes
3-4dl wheat flour
200g fresh spinach leaves
1 tsp salt

I think I have added the following ”warning” to all my gnocchi dishes so far as making the dough requires a certain amount of experience to know when it has the correct consistency.

Please note that the ingredient amounts are approximate and flour should be added carefully while checking the texture of the dough. Too much flour can easily ruin the dough. It's important to get the texture right, which should hold together at the boiling stage and doesn't get soggy.

This is how to get started for this dish:

I used waxy new potatoes again as I have noticed that my gnocchi tend to hold together better when they're made with new potatoes. Peel the potatoes and boil them for about 30 minutes until they are soft. Then mash them by pressing through a potato ricer into a bowl and let them cool down.

While the potatoes cook, boil the spinach leaves in water for about two minutes and drain them thoroughly afterwards by pressing all the excess fluid out. This can be done with the help of a sieve. Then quickly chop the spinach finely, with a hand mixer for example. Or you could crush it using a mortar and pestle. Set it to the side and let cool.

Add the spinach, a pinch of salt and some flour into the potato mash and mix and knead until you have a bouncy firm dough that is easy to shape.

Shape the dough into small balls with teaspoons or by hand. Another method is to make a longish thin rod and then cut small pieces out of it. If you want to you can press some decoration in with a fork or dent the gnocchi with your fingers.

Next, bring some water to the boil and put the gnocchi in; keep the water boiling heavily throughout. Boil the gnocchi until they float on the surface, which happens quite quickly (around two minutes).

I served the gnocchi this time with sage and walnut butter and a fresh watermelon hedgehog salad. It's very much fun cutting animal shapes out of fruit for salads – try it if you own whimsical cookie cutters! I made hedgehog shaped cut-outs of watermelon and combined them with lettuce, cottage cheese and a simple olive oil vinaigrette.

You can make the walnut and sage butter quickly by heating butter in a pan, adding sage leaves and frying until they are crispy and have infused the butter. Towards the end add some chopped walnut pieces to the pan. Then just mix it into the gnocchi and serve – lovely!

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

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