Cheese and Spinach Dumplings, Florence Style
Strozzapreti alla Fiorentina
Preparation - Medium
Serves 4 - 6
The literal translation of strozzapreti is "it strangles priests." Why this should be so, in a Catholic country, is something no one has yet explained. But the name, in various dialects, crops up for more than one dish in Italian cuisine.
- 1 lb spinach
- 1/2 cup boiling salted water
- 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/4 t *Quattro Spezie (four spices)
- 1 cup flour
- 3 quarts boiling water
- 1 T salt
- 4 T sweet butter (unsalted)
- Remove tough parts of spinach and wash carefully.
- Bring spinach to a boil in salted water and drain immediately.
- Chop very and drain again thoroughly.
- In a bowl mix together spinach, ricotta, egg yolks, 1/2-cup Parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon Four Spices to a very smooth paste.
- With a regular tablespoon ladle out a piece of the mixture and roll in between floured hands into a small, bite-sized ball.
- Repeat until the mixture is used up, always keeping your hands floured.
- Bring lightly salted water to a simmer, then carefully add the dumplings, one at a time, being very careful that there is not too many in the pot at any one time or they will stick together.
- Remove each dumpling as soon as it rises to the surface.
- Drain well.
- Place in a heated serving dish, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, dot with small pieces of butter, and gently toss.
- Serve with a bowl of remaining Parmesan cheese.
*FOUR SPICES: This mixture of four spices should be prepared and put in a jar on your spice shelf. Used in moderation, it is an excellent addition to various sauces and other dishes.
- 8 T freshly ground white pepper
- 2 T freshly grated or ground nutmeg
- 2 T freshly ground juniper berries
- 2 t ground cloves
Mix well together and use when indicated.
Makes about 3/4 cup.