The other night I did something I don’t normally do…make homemade dumplings. Gnocchi inspired, without the potatoes, double the veggies and low-fat ricotta on a bed of fresh marinara sauce, these little bundles were are tasty as they were healthy….well as healthy as pasta can be. Above all, they were super easy and quick to make, ideal to enjoy a few as a first course or a few more with a fresh salad for a delicious dinner (like we did.) Paired with an incredible Chianti Classico from Antinori enhancing the herbal notes in the pasta and elevating the spicy, garlic and herb filled marinara.
Spinach, Mint and Ricotta Dumplings
32 oz fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup fresh mint, packed
1/4 cup fresh basil, packed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 whole egg + 3 egg yolks
2 cups ricotta (whole milk or light)
1 cup grated parmesan + more for sprinkling
1 cup flour + more for dusting
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil, add the spinach, mint and basil and cook for 2-3 minutes, until wilted but still bright green. Drain the water, remove the spinach from the pot and rinse under cold water to shock the spinach and help it stop cooking. When cool enough to handle press all of the water out of the spinach (adding the spinach to a kitchen towel and ringing it out will help.) Roughly chop then add to a food processor with the parsley, garlic and squeeze of lemon. Chop very fine. Add to a large mixing bowl with the ricotta, 1 cup of parmesan, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper. Mix very well. Add the flour in and mix through. Generously dust a large cookie sheet with flour.
Using an ice cream scoop begin to scoop the dumplings, dropping them into the flour on the cookie sheet to coat them. (You may need to add more flour to the sheet as you work, the flour will help the dumplings stay together and dry them out a bit.) When completed bring another pot of salted water to a boil and drop several dumplings into the water at a time, but don’t over fill the pot to make them stick together. Stir and wait for the dumplings to rise to the top of the water; when they do they are done. Scoop out, drain and keep warm in a very low oven until all the dumplings have cooked. Then toss them in marinara, a simple brown butter sauce or a decadent alfredo, and garnish with extra shaved parmesan.