Smooth gnocchis on a smooth spinach sauce topped with crunchy cured ham, a perfect balance of textures and flavors. If you are a spinach lover, this is the meal for you, also gnocchis, those italian silky potato dumplings are a great compliment to the spinach sauce. A traditional recipe made of spinach already exists; the green spinach gnocchis. I’ve simply separated the gnocchis from the spinach and made a sauce with it. The sauce under the gnocchi makes this dish look better in my option, to see the nice form of each gnocchi opposed to a mix of green balls.
Gnocchis recipes in the cyber world tends to be quite traditional, meaning typical sauces that comes with; for example; the butter sage sauce, pesto, ragout, etc. which are all delicious of course. In my case, I’ve done it with a spinach sauce… mainly because I needed a way to use my leftover chicken broth in the fridge and since all those great traditional recipes are out there already… That’s the purpose of this blog anyway; to experiment and sometime even innovate. So… back to the recipe…
Reducing a good handmade broth goes with everything already, it was just missing some good old vitamins, which, in my opinion, is necessary to any meal. I’ve ended up taking the easiest of vegetables to work with and also the healthiest on earth; spinach. A touch of cornstarch and cream to thickens the sauce and a squeeze of lemon to finish it. So simple yet so tasty and healthy. Talking health… vitamins C (lemon in this case) helps iron getting absorbed into the body, which means, all those dark green vegetables will always benefit your body with a squeeze of citrus.
The main idea here isn’t the spinach really, it’s whatever vegetable you feel like that day; spinach in this recipe could easily be replace by butternut squash, mushroom, etc. Gnocchis are quite polivalent in this way, they go with everything, so the protagonist here is the vegetable of your choice. Then you build around it; a sweet squash goes well with salty cured ham too, mushroom goes well with simple parmesan, spinach always goes to perfection with pine nuts.
The crispy cured ham (serrano, prosciutto, etc.) add a nice salty and crunchy texture to the overly soft dish. Although the dish holds great without it too. If you want a vegetarian version of this dish, just ditch the ham and replace the chicken broth by a nice veggie broth.
Let’s make those gnocchis!
Gnocchis on a spinach sauce and crispy cured ham
Makes 2 portions
- 500g of premade fresh gnocchis
- 300ml of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 300g spinach
- 1 tbsp of cornstarch (diluted in 2 tbsp of cold water)
- 3 tbsp of heavy cream
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- crispy cured ham (see below)
- shaved parmesan or romano
- grilled pine nuts
The spinach sauce
- Add the homemade (preferably) broth to a medium sized pot and reduce (cook high heat) until it loses a quarter of it’s liquid, about 5-6 minutes
- Add the spinach and salt and let them melt into the broth
- Blend the sauce with an immersion blender
- Add the cornstarch mix, nutmeg, salt and pepper and reduce until lightly creamy
- Add the lemon squeeze and cream at the end of coccion
- Adjust the salt and pepper
The crunchy cured ham
- Add the a few slices of cured ham in the oven at 180°C (350F) for 3-4 minutes
- In a big, unsalted boiling water pot, add the gnocchis (contrary to pasta, potato starch get’s mushy in salted water)
- Pick them up as soon as they come to the surface (takes about 1 to 3 minutes)
- Add on top of the spinach sauce
- Add the toppings of your choice (pine nuts, cured ham and parmesan in this case)