Thursday, March 22, 2007

RECIPE! "Spinach Not-Quite Gnocchi"

MAKING THIS RECIPE, I was well aware that the finished product was not going to be gnocchi in the classic Italian sense. First of all, there's no potato involved. Secondly, it involves baking the "pasta," which ain't quite right. Here's what you do:

14 oz. fresh spinach
3 cups milk
1 /1/4 cups semolina flour

1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Grated nutmeg
Salt, black bepper

2 eggs

Blanch the spinach, drain, and chop coarsely (read: drop the spinach in boiling water for 15-30 seconds and then quickly douse it under cold water, drain, chop.) Heat the milk in large saucepan; when it's about to boil, pour in the semolina in a steady stream, stirring with a wooden spoon. Keep on heat for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in half the butter, most of the cheese, some nutmeg, and season to taste. Cool for 5 minutes. Beat and stir in the eggs.

Spread mixture on baking sheet to 1/2" thick. Cool, then chill until solid. Stamp out shapes using small, round cookie cutter (a shot glass works as well) and roll into balls or whatever small shapes you like. Grease a baking sheet, position "gnocchi" and brush with remaining butter and cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes or until golden brown.
The result is hardly the dense, doughy, filling pasta that any reasonable person would understand to be gnocchi. But make no mistake--this recipe is delicious. Just be prepared for small spinach puff pastry things. In fact, this recipe would be twice as delicious served as an appetizer, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and served with fresh tomato sauce to dip the little buggers into. Mmmmmm...

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