Spinach and potato gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce

Spinach and potato gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce

Gnocchi are the ultimate comfort food. Their creamy, smooth texture makes them them the perfect primo piatto for when you’re really hungry.

In this recipe I have added spinach to the classic potato gnocchi dough, which teams beautifully with the Gorgonzola sauce.

Gorgonzola is a super yummy Northern Italian blue cheese, which can be found in two versions, dolce (sweet and creamy) or piccante (firmer and stronger in taste).

When I was a kid I used to hate blue cheeses, including Gorgonzola. As an adult I have come to find their flavour addictive.

Mind you: this sauce is everything but low-cal, so it’s perfect for those cold autumn/winter days when we crave something rich and comforting.

A note on the flour: although it is most common to use white flour, I have replaced it with durum wheat flour instead. I find that it gives a great texture and I also like the taste better, as with white flour you do tend to have a “floury” aftertaste in the gnocchi.

A final suggestion on the set up when preparing this dish: it is better to have a pot of salted boiling water already on the stove when cutting the gnocchi, so you can toss them in the water straight away. Otherwise, the longer you leave them on a tray the more they will tend to stick together, making your work harder.

Whatever sauce you decide to use – basil and tomato sauce is another great option, or butter, parmesan and sage -, it’s also ideal to have it ready on the stove next to the boiling water, on a low heat. This way you can drain and transfer the gnocchi directly to the sauce pan, for a final stir fry.

This way they’ll keep their texture and shape more easily.

Spinach and potato gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce

Time

30 minutes + 45 minutes (to mix and shape the gnocchi) + 4 minutes cooking

Ingredients (4 people)

For the gnocchi dough:

About 800 g potatoes, boiled until tender and peeled

250 g spinach, boiled or steamed, then drained and squeezed to remove all excess water

1 egg

300 g durum wheat flour

A pinch of salt

For the sauce:

350-400 g Gorgonzola (piccante or dolce)

A few spoonfuls of water or milk

Ground black pepper

Grated parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Thinly mash the potatoes. Finely chop the cooked and squeezed spinach.
  2. In a bowl, mix the potatoes and spinach. Add the egg and and a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly.
  3. Now gradually add the flour. Use your judgement to decide whether to use the whole 300g or bit more/less, depending on how dry the mix is looking. You want to obtain a rather compact dough. It shouldn’t be liquid/creamy, but not too dry either. It should still retain some softness.
  4. When you’re happy with the dough texture, on a floured surface, start shaping the gnocchi following the technique indicated here.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pan on a medium heat, place all the cheese in chunks and add a few spoonfuls of water or milk. Stir occasionally. When it is uniformly melted, lower the heat.
  6. Cook the gnocchi as you go along, tossing them into the water and gently letting them simmer until they come to the surface. It will take about 3-4 minutes.
  7. As they come to the surface, use a strainer to drain them and transfer them directly into the sauce pan. Make sure they don’t get too dry by adding a bit of water from the boiling gnocchi if needed, and stir regularly to mix them well with the sauce. If you feel you’re not fast enough, you can remove the sauce pan from the heat and place it back on the stove as you finish to boil all the batches of gnocchi.
  8. Finally, stir once more, making sure the gnocchi and their dressing are smooth and creamy (and not too dry). If you need, add a bit of water.
  9. Serve the gnocchi piping hot in individual plates, topping them with ground black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.

Tips:

  • It is usually recommended to use floury potatoes for gnocchi. However, I used  new potatoes and they also worked fine.
  • An issue encountered sometimes by people is that the gnocchi might dissolve when tossed in the boiling water: the egg should prevent this, but carefully managing the amount of flour is equally important. If encounter this problem, try increasing the amount of flour in the dough a bit.