Gnocchi Verdi

These tasty Italian dumplings make an unusual first course to an Italian meal. Gnocchi Verdi (nah-kee vair-dce) may also be served as a main course with grilled bacon and, if liked, a mushroom sauce.

1 ½ lb. spinach, trimmed and washed

3 teaspoons salt

2 oz. butter

1 small onion, very finely chopped

8 oz. ricotta cheese

2 teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 eggs

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

4 oz. flour

2 oz. butter, melted

Put the spinach into a large saucepan. Pour over enough water just to cover the spinach. Add

1 teaspoon of salt and place the pan over moderate heat. Cook the spinach for

7 to

12 minutes, or until it is tender.

Remove the pan from the heat and drain the spinach in a colander, pressing down well with a wooden spoon to extract all excess liquid.

Transfer the spinach to a chopping board. With a sharp knife, finely chop the spinach.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam sub-sides, add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the chopped spinach to the pan and, with a wooden spoon, stir in the ricotta cheese, 1 teaspoon of the remaining salt, the pepper and the nutmeg. Beat until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove the pan from the heat and beat in the eggs, half the grated Parmesan cheese and the flour. Turn the mixture into a mixing bowl and leave it to cool. Then place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 2 to 3 hours.

Remove the mixture from the refriger-ator and turn it out on to a floured board. Divide the mixture into large walnut- sized pieces and roll them into balls.

Pour

1 tablespoon of the melted butter into a shallow flameproof dish and sprinkle with

1 tablespoon of the remaining Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Half fill a large saucepan with cold water and add the remaining salt. Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to the boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and, when the water comes to the boil again, drop in the balls, a few at a time.

Simmer until they rise to the surface. With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi from the pan and drain them on kitchen paper towels. Place them in the flameproof dish and keep them hot while you cook the remaining balls in the same way.

Preheat the grill to high.

Pour the remaining melted butter and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the gnocchi. Place the dish under the grill and grill the gnocchi for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Two spicy Indian dishes – Gobi Ki Sabzi and Goan Vinegar Curry.

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