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)
  1. Remove tough parts of spinach and wash carefully.
  2. Bring spinach to a boil in salted water and drain immediately.
  3. Chop very and drain again thoroughly.
  4. 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.
  5. With a regular tablespoon ladle out a piece of the mixture and roll in between floured hands into a small, bite-sized ball.
  6. Repeat until the mixture is used up, always keeping your hands floured.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove each dumpling as soon as it rises to the surface.
  9. Drain well.
  10. Place in a heated serving dish, sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, dot with small pieces of butter, and gently toss.
  11. 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.

Northern Italian Cooking
Francesco Ghedini




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