Spinach and Herb Homemade Gnocchi

Spinach and Herb Homemade Gnocchi
Gnocchi might just be one of my favorite things ever.  Fluffy and light, it hits your tongue with a gentle thud and you chew, the hearty flavors of potato and butter and cheese bounce around in your mouth.  Typically a vehicle for marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese, I like to vary mine just a bit and add some spinach and herbs to really make them pop.  Then after I boil them, fry them up in a little bit of olive oil until they are golden and crispy on the outside.  No sauce required.  While you could simply boil the gnocchi and then eat them, I prefer to take the extra step of frying them up a little to form a crispy skin on the outside and varying the texture a bit.

Crispy and golden brown on the outside, light on the inside
Gnocchi is relatively easy to make and is even easier if you happen to have mashed potatoes already on hand (a great way to use up leftovers!) While making them from scratch might be a little more labor intensive then what most people have time for on a weeknight, I like to take a rainy Sunday (yesterday certainly qualifies!) to make a whole big batch of them to be frozen (they freeze beautifully).  Then, whenever I've got the craving for some homemade gnocchi, I pop it out of the freezer and into a hot tub of boiling salted water for just a couple minutes and I've got myself a quick, homemade and very satisfying dinner.

Spinach Mashed Potatoes - ready to be made into the dough!
Fresh cut gnocchi
Ready for the freezer
If you want to freeze them, just make sure to lay them out flat on a cookie sheet first and stick that in the freezer overnight.  Once they are all frozen, then you can take them off the cookie sheet and put them into a plastic freezer bag or some plastic storage containers.  This is an important step to take if you plan to freeze your gnocchi.  If you miss this, you'll end up with a giant clump of frozen gnocchi instead of soft little pillows.

Spinach and Herb Homemade Gnocchi

- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 3 medium sized russet potatoes
- 1 tbs dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- A couple pinches of nutmeg
- 2 tbs butter
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups flour (more or less, depending on when your dough starts to form)
- Salt and pepper
- Some extra virgin olive oil for frying

Start by (carefully!) poking holes in the potatoes with a sharp knife and then baking the potatoes for about half an hour or until you can stick a knife through the center of the potato with no resistance.  When this happens, set the potatoes aside to let them cool.  Meanwhile, in a pot, wilt the spinach and then wring it dry in some paper towels and set it aside.

Once the potatoes have cooled, peel the skins off with a knife and run the potatoes through a ricer (or you can mash by hand).  Mix in the milk, butter, rosemary, Parmesan, thyme and nutmeg.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the spinach to the mashed potatoes and combine.  In a separate bowl, mix the eggs together and then add them to the potatoes.  Mix well.  Gradually add the flour to the egg/potato mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing it together with your hands and gradually adding more flour and continuing to mix until you reach a dough-like consistency.  Once this has happened, lay some flour onto a flat surface and working in small batches, roll out the dough snake like and use a pastry cutter (or a knife) to cut little squares.  Lay out the gnocchi onto a cookie sheet in one flat layer to freeze.

To prepare the gnocchi, bring salted water to a boil in a pot on the stove.  Add the gnocchi and coil until they float (about 2-3 minutes).  Remove from the water and transfer them to a pan with some heated olive oil.  On medium high heat, fry the gnocchi until they are golden brown.  serve immediately.


Elizabeth said...

You know, I'm normally not a fan of gnocchi because I just don't like a big boiled ball of dough, but FRIED!! Now that's something I could get into.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I've never had fried gnocchi before and yours sounds delicious! What a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes!

Alicia said...

Such a pretty picture. I love the flecks of the green spinach. I've made gnocchi with ricotta, but never with potatoes. I'll have to give it a whirl next time I have leftover potatoes!

Justin said...

I love fried gnocci but have never made them... this looks so delicious. Great job.

Emily said...

Oh man, I've only made gnocchi... once. And that's because it took forever. I love your spinach version and am inspired to give it another go!

Melissa said...

I love gnocchi but never made them myself! This recipe sounds simple enough and looks so good, I'll have to try it! I've never had fried gnocchi either but I love fried ravioli and frying makes everything better :)

Megan said...

I love frying up gnocchi too. I usually have to fry mine though because after I boil them, they don't look so great and I think treating them to a butter bath helps. Gnocchi is one of those things I'm still working on...

Daisy said...

i think I have fried gnocci before but never made my own from scratch. i'm lazy like that.

PS good luck / have fun tonight at the cooking deomntration! I am bummed I will miss it.

Mom said...

Wow! This looks amazing!! I hope this will be prepared over the Christmas week!! Yum - cannot wait!!

Good luck tonight!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I've never had fried gnocchi either and haven't attempted making them at home yet! This sounds like such a simple and tasty recipe. I love spinach and potatoes together.

Shannon said...

i've only made them once, but i need to keep trying so i can become a pro :) craving these... right now!!

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