Well, I was going to write another quick post soon after the last one but… – who would have thought that having twins means not only, to employ the well worn but nevertheless true cliché, double the joy but also double the work, double no time & double no sleep. Lucky the people who have grandparents, aunts & uncles and the whole extended family around to alleviate the daily grind and provide small pockets of breathing space. We don’t, so it has been a hard year with fantastic experiences, precious moments coupled with absolutely back (& spirit) breaking times. I thought we had it covered.
At crucial points in one’s live separation of wheat from the chaff is what inevitably happens and when it happens it is always unexpected, unbelievably sad & incredibly hurtful. Including that Brexit Damocles’ sword swinging on top of our heads (really? Every day the news are full of more childish, vindictive, empire-colonial-nostalgic and populistic/nationalistic phraseology with only one single aim – to grab and cling to power with no regards of the consequences for the people at home or those British subjects who are living and working abroad or barring future generations from easy access to such possibilities. Well done, you.)
Stiff upper lip and all the Keep-carrying-on-spirit we can muster, there are times when we feel sore and left alone. Therefore I am grateful for the exceptional friends we have, near and far, old ones and new ones. It only takes a simple gesture, few words to be kind, caring and sometimes move mountains (of washed but un-ironed clothes or dark clouds over one’s head). The same simplicity works in the kitchen where just a few simple ingredients are enough to achieve something truly extraordinary. Like these spinach ricotta gnocchi with their power to evoke the impression of an army of Italian nonnas around to wipe your tears, stroke your hair and tell you everything is going to be good again…and that whatever food is in your face, hair, blouse, table, wall etc. does not matter since it is really good for the complexion or fabric. Not that the babies (sorry, guys) toddlers would throw these around, they loved them, too.
1 small onion, cut in small dice
80g butter, divided
80g grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
1 egg yolk
salt (1½-2 teaspoons, to taste), pepper
Wash and wilt wet spinach in a covered saucepan over medium heat, leave to drain and cool in a colander, then chop coarsely. Melt 30g butter in a small frying pan and sweat the chopped onion until translucent. Leave to cool and mix with spinach.
With a wooden spoon cream ricotta until smooth, add 40g Parmesan cheese, eggs & egg yolk, salt, pepper, a grating of nutmeg and spinach. Finally, stir in flour and season again. Form walnut-sized balls (about 2 teaspoons, I do mine with a small ice-cream scoop) and simmer in salted water until they rise to the top. Best done in batches, take out with a slotted spoon. All this can be done ahead, even the day before.
Preheat oven to 150°C / 325°F.
Arrange gnocchi in an oven-proof dish, drizzle with melted butter (50g) and the rest of the Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake for 5 minutes until cheese has melted and serve.