The weekend is almost here, and how better to spend it than with food, friends, family and (sporadic offerings of) sunshine. We’ve always given you main meals to get stuck into but today we’re bringing you a light and delicious starter from the Riverford Farm Cook Book. These spinach and ricotta gnocchi make a delicious light alternative to the more usual potato or semolina ones.
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
450g spinach, tough stalks removed
75g plain flour
150g ricotta cheese
2 egg yolks
100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra to serve
freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sage Butter (Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a shallow pan, add a handful of sage leaves and cook over a medium heat until the sage and butter brown slightly. The sage should be crisp, but not burned. Remove from the heat and serve with ravioli or other pasta, or risotto)
Heat the butter in a small frying pan, add the onion and cook gently for 8-10 minutes, until soft but not coloured.
Blanch the spinach in a large pan of boiling salted water for 1 minute, then drain and refresh in cold water. Drain again, squeeze out the excess water and chop the spinach roughly. Add to the onion, seasoning well, and cook for about 8 minutes, making sure they are thoroughly combined. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and sift in the flour. Add the ricotta and mix well. Then stir in the egg yolks, Parmesan and some nutmeg and mix again. Season to taste.
Using 2 dessertspoons, shape the mixture into quenelles: take a spoonful of the mixture and then scoop it off with the second spoon, passing it from one spoon to the other until it is a neat oval shape. Place on a lightly floured tray and chill for one hour.
To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add them in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. When the gnocchi rise to the surface, give them about 3 minutes more, then scoop out with a slotted spoon and place in a warm serving dish. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan and drizzled with Sage Butter.
Serves 4 as a starter
To buy the Riverford Farm Cook Book click here.
For more information on Riverford Farm including fresh produce, more recipes, farm visits and the Riverford Farm restaurant, visit their site http://www.riverford.co.uk/