1 lb fresh spinach, washed and cooked or 10 oz frozen spinach
3/4 lb ricotta cheese
2 T unsalted butter
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
3 T flour for dusting
pinch or two of nutmeg (optional)
4 fresh sage leaves (optional)
1/4 t freshly ground white pepper
a bowl of cold water
Saucepan, baking dish, mixing bowl, prep surface.
Butter an ovenproof dish and set aside.
Wash the spinach well, making sure no sand or soil is left on it.
Place in saucepan, cover and cook till tender, a few minutes, without the addition of water. The water clinging to the spinach leaves from washing is sufficient to cock the spinach with a minimum loss of flavor and nutrients.
Remove from heat and drain thoroughly.
Finely chop the spinach, place in a colander draining it further.
Meanwhile, pass the ricotta through a sieve.
Place spinach in a large bowl along with ricotta, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, egg yolks, nutmeg, salt to taste and pepper.
Combine thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Dust a large platter, pastry board or counter top with flour.
Dip your fingers in the cold water.
Take a small amount of the gnocchi mixture and shape into an oval about an inch in length, approximately one and a half times the size of an olive.
Place them on the floured surface as soon as formed.
Wet your fingers regularly to keep them from sticking to the gnocchi mixture, or dust them with flour if you prefer.
Meanwhile, in a large pot bring 4 quarts of salted water (1/2 T of salt) to a boil.
By the time you have finished preparing the gnocchi the water should be boiling.
Lower the heat so water is at a simmer.
Roll the gnocchi lightly in the flour.
Drop a few gnocchi into the simmering water at a time.
Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon 4 to 5 minutes after the water has returned to a simmer. Gnocchi will rise to the surface when done.
Place in the buttered dish and keep warm in the oven at setting for warm.
Melt the butter in a saucepan; add the sage if you are using it, and keep on very low heat for a few minutes making sure not to burn the butter.
Pour the melted butter over the gnocchi in the baking dish sprinkling with 2 or more T of Parmesan.Bake in a preheated (375 degrees) oven until the cheese melts and browns lightly about 5 minutes.
Serve immediately - Pass the extra Parmesan at table.