Monday, March 8, 2010

Gnocchi Verdi al Gorgonzola

Inspired by Il Fornaio's Festa Regionale Lombardia menu, offered through March 14, and some very special walnuts we found at the Little Italy Farmers Market, John suggested making homemade gnocchi for our rainy weekend culinary entertainment.  John has made gnocchi a couple of times, and favors the Ricotta-Spinach Dumplings Baked in a Creamy Porcini Mushroom Sauce, from our Il Fornaio Pasta Book.  My man loves his potatoes and fattening cream sauces with pasta!

We followed Il Fornaio's recipe for the spinach ricotta gnocchi, and then created our own gorgonzola cream sauce with toasted red walnuts.  To read more about these beautiful red walnuts from Terra Bella Ranch, visit The Vegetarian Guy.

Gnocchi Verdi al Gorgonzola
Serves 4


1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, mashed
6 ounces baby spinach leaves
2 1/2 cups ricotta
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
5 oz. gorgonzola cheese
1 cup  whipping cream

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook one minute.  Add the spinach and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a colander and let cool.  Squeeze the spinach between your hands to eliminate any excess liquid.  Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and puree.

Combine the ricotta, parmigiano, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a bowl.

 Add the egg and mix well.

Add the spinach and flour and mix, using your hands.

On a flat, four-dusted work surface, roll the dough into a cylinder 3 1/2 inches in diameter and 5 inches long.  Cut into five 1-inch-thick slices.

Working with one batch at a time, set a slice on its edge and press it down to flatten it.  Sprinkle with flour.  Roll the dough with the palms of your hands in a forward motion, similar to moving a rolling pin, until you have formed a cylinder 13-15 inches long and 3/4 inch wide in diameter.

Cut each length on the diagonal into 1/4 inch thick slices. Press each piece against the tines on the back of a fork while gently rolling it down. Transfer to a flour-dusted plate with a spatula.

Bring 5 quarts of water, with 5 teaspoons salt, to a boil in a large stockpot over high heat. Add the gnocchi and cook until they rise to the top, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain.

To make the sauce:  Melt the butter in a medium saute pan.  Saute the shallots and walnuts for about 2 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the gorgonzola and season with salt and pepper. Cook, over low heat, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.

Combine the gnocchi and cream sauce and toss to coat lightly and evenly. When plating, garnish with a few more toasted walnut pieces.

Suggested Wine Pairing from What to Drink with What You Eat: Chardonnay, especially a lighter-bodied Italian, Pinot Grigio/Pinos Gris, or Chianti


Carmen said...

This dish looks so good enough to take to Vegas for the weekend ... Dang. It should rain more often.

Dacia said...

Those look beautiful and delicious! I have only made plain gnocchi once--I may give this spinach gnocchi a try! I will also have to keep my eyes peeled for red walnuts. They are so pretty.

Carolyn Jung said...

The colors of this dish are just so memorable. I just had some so-so gnocchi at a restaurant this weekend. Your spinach gorgonzola ones look worlds better. ;)

R. said...

Beautiful gnocchi! I've never seen red walnuts!? Those are gorgeous. Love, love, love gorgonzola sauce - fattening as it is :o)

dietcokehead said...

As everyone has said, this looks beautiful and delicious. I love the different colors.

Krissy said...

Wow great job I am going to have to try this sometime!

Kathleen said...

Wow! This dish looks fabulous! I just bookmarked it. Thanks for sharing!

sandra said...

This dish looks amazing, I will try it, lately I have been making Gnochhi almost every 2nd Sunday. Coming from an Italian family, I see you have done something great with this receipe. Sandy Salerno

kuchenbaaker said...

Made these tonight and although the dough was a bit gooey and hard to handle, they cooked up great and tasted fantastic! (I use drained seived lower fat cottage cheese instead of ricotta so it may be wetter) For sure these will be our green dinner next March 17! Awesome recipe - and I love your blog! Thanks!