Life’s a Feast: Cheat’s ricotta and spinach gnocchi


Gnocchi are Italian dumplings which are like velvet cushions to bite into! They’re a revelation to the tongue, heaven in a bowl. However, I have always had an irrational fear of making them. I had visions of them falling apart or, worse still, being as hard as bullets instead of light fluffy pillows of goodness. With this recipe, you can’t go wrong. I have replaced the usual potato with ricotta cheese, which reduces prep time by at least half and in my opinion gives a far lighter, tastier end product. This is a simple, fail-proof recipe that you can top with any of your favourite pasta toppings. Enjoy!


300g frozen spinach (thaw after weighing)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
300g ricotta cheese 
2 eggs lightly beaten 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
1 1/4 cup of flour (approx 190g) 
Good pinch salt and pepper

Sage Butter:
4-5 tablespoons butter 
12-15 fresh sage leaves 
Pinch sea salt 
Squeeze lemon juice (optional)


1. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the spinach and chop finely. Place into a bowl with the ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg and eggs and combine well. Next fold in the flour until you form a soft dough.

2. Divide dough into four even pieces and pop in fridge for 15 mins. Take out and roll each piece into a long rope, approximately 25cm long. Cut each rope into 2cm pieces and place onto a lightly floured tray until ready to cook.
3. Your sauce needs to be ready by the time the gnocchi is cooked so you can serve it immediately. Place butter into a frying pan over medium heat. Cook until melted then add sage leaves to the pan. Cook butter and sage leaves, swirling pan often, for 2-3 minutes or until sage leaves are crisp and butter has turned a nutty brown colour. Season to taste with salt and pepper and lemon.

4. Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to the boil. Remember the water should taste as salty as the sea. Cook the gnocchi in about three batches for about 4 mins. Remove with perforated spoon and pop in the next batch. Divide evenly amongst four plates, pour over your sauce, divide sage leaves evenly, then sprinkle with grated parmesan. Other great toppings for this gnocchi include pesto, any kind of tomato sauce especially puttanesca or a creamy garlic and parmesan sauce.