Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi

spinach ricotta gnocchi

Homemade gnocchi – little dough dumplings made with potatoes or ricotta – is the sort of thing most of us would consider a special kitchen project, and yet for Italian nonnas it’s one of the shortest, easiest routes to dinner. Those with skilled hands can shape gnocchi like the wind – when my good pal Emily Richards (who also happens to be one of the most knowledgeable cooks I know) came to visit last year, she made us all a batch of gnocchi for dinner one night, and brought an extra wood gnocchi board her dad made, just for me. (If you don’t have a gnocchi board, don’t sweat it – the tines of a fork work just as well.)

gnocchi 1
gnocchi 2

I used rainbow chard, wilted and finely chopped – only a bunch, wilted in a hot pan and finely chopped – because that’s what I had in the fridge. So if you don’t quite have 16 cups of baby spinach (which seems like a lot, but it cooks down to practically nothing), don’t sweat it – just remember that the dough should be soft and tacky, but not overly sticky – it’s best to err on the side of light rather than heavy.

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gnocchi 3

It’s easier to visualize how to shape gnocchi by actually seeing it. Here’s a little video I posted to Facebook –

I made some spinach-ricotta gnocchi yesterday-will post the recipe tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's a little video to illustrate how to shape it!

Posted by Dinner with Julie on Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Posted by Dinner with Julie on Tuesday, 22 March 2016

I know I’ve mentioned before that Emily has a gorgeous new cookbook, Per La Famiglia: Memories and Recipes of Southern Italian Home Cooking (Whitecap), which this recipe is included in. To celebrate, a bunch of her friends decided to throw a sort of virtual book launch-slash-dinner party, each posting a recipe from the book that would, in real life, make the very best Sunday afternoon Italian spread ever.

Amanda of Once Upon A Recipe made Balsamic Roasted Pear Wedges with Prosciutto
Brittany of My Daily Randomness made Tiramisu
Carole of Yum Yum Factor made Pickled Eggplant
Chrissie of The Busy Baker made Amaretti Cookies
Christina of Strawberries For Supper made Baked Pasta with Sausage and Ricotta
Gwen of Devour and Conquer made Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Butter
Heather of The Tasty Gardener made Squash and Hazelnut Rotelle/Polenta with Sausage and Rapini
Kristy of She Eats made Italian Egg and Raisin Bread
Libby of Libby Roach Photography made Nonna Ortenzia’s Meatballs
Nancy of Gotta Get Baked made Hazelnut Chocolate Filled Cookies
Nicole of Culinary Cool made Spinach Ricotta Cannelloni
Tiffany of Eating Niagara made Potato Doughnuts

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I know – just linking to them made me want to make them all. Congrats on a gorgeous book, Emily – it’s like getting to marry into a friendly family of Italian home cooks after all.

Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi


March 23, 2016


16 cups lightly packed baby spinach

1 egg

1 475 g tub ricotta (1 1/2 cups)

3 cups all-purpose flour (approx.), divided

1/2 tsp. salt


1In a large skillet, cover and cook spinach over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze spinach well. Chop spinach; set aside.

2In a large bowl, whisk together egg, ricotta and spinach. Gradually stir in 2½ cups (625 mL) flour and salt with wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Place dough on a floured surface and knead in remaining flour for 5 minutes to form a smooth dough.

3Divide dough into 8 pieces; roll each into long, thin strands, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cut into about 36 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece across tines of a fork, gnocchi paddle or gnocchi basket. Place in a single layer on a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Place in the freezer for about 1 hour or until firm. Use a flat spatula or wooden spoon to gently scrape the frozen gnocchi off the baking sheet.

4In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi from frozen for about 8 minutes or until they float to the top and are tender throughout. Drain with a slotted spoon and toss with tomato sauce or butter.

5Make ahead: If you want to freeze the gnocchi, once they are firmly frozen, use a spatula to scrape pasta off baking sheet into a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To make plain ricotta gnocchi, omit spinach and use only 2 cups (500 mL) of flour to stir in to form soft dough. You may need to knead in more flour to form a smooth dough.

6Makes 2 lb, enough for 4-6 servings.


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13 comments on “Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi

  1. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    March 23, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Emily’s made these with my students 2x and they are always a hit 🙂

  2. Jules @ WolfItDown
    March 23, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    I have been wanting to making gnocchi myself for some time now, these sounds heavenly!
    I actually had some pre-made ones today with a creamy chilli I made after work today, I
    might get my hands on these spinach ones in the near future, they sound flippin’ great! 😀 x

  3. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    March 23, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    These gnocchi are my to-make list from Emily’s book. Fantastic idea to use the chard that was in your fridge!

  4. Wanda
    March 23, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    How did you know that I’ve been wanting to make gnocchi! Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Nancy @ gottagetbaked
    March 24, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Julie, your gnocchi look perfect! I’ve always wanted to try making them but have been too intimidated. I can’t wait to try Emily’s recipe.

    • Julie
      March 26, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      Try them! they’re so easy!

  6. rusticboho
    August 6, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    That’s one reason I don’t feel like jumping in head first quite yet, with just three of us I feel like I’d VERY rarely use the large

  7. Yeezy
    February 16, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I actually had some pre-made ones today with a creamy chilli I made after work today,

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