About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Gnocchi with Gorgonzola | Main | Gratinéed Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi »

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi


Marcella writes that 'the word gnocco in Italian means a little lump' and frankly many gnocchi that I have tried in the past were little more than lumps; not particularly appetizing. Lumps of glue-like dough that invariably weigh rather heavily in your stomach.


Or as I learned to say in Italy this last trip - porca miseria.

Poor Palma, tried her darnedest to teach me some Italian and THAT is all I brought back. *smile*

Then a couple of years ago Paul and I went to dinner in Florence at Osteria del Chinghiale Bianco with Palma and Brad. Palma ordered spinach and ricotta gnocchi and they were a revelation - light, fluffy, and bursting with flavour!

I was excited to be trying Marcella's version to see if I could duplicate those light balls of flavour at home.

Many people only think of potatoes when they think of gnocchi. They would be thinking narrowly. One should never think too narrowly when it comes to food.

This version is also known as naked ravioli because the gnocchi are essentially buttery mounds of ravioli filling. Gnocchi with ricotta cheese is much more forgiving than the potato version. The dough holds together better, and the result is likely to be more pillow-like than chewy.

You may have seen spinach ricotta gnocchi on restaurant menus before under a different name: strangolapreti or strozzapreti. This translates to "choke the priest". I love the livid food names in Italy! Of course, because nothing in Italy is simple, strozzapreti also refers to a thick, elongated pasta.

One has to wonder about this fascination with naming food after such things. Was there a series of accidental priest strangulations? Did the Medici resort to 'death by pasta' to dispatch those priests who dared threaten their edicts in Florence? We'll never know but the colourful food names sure can get the conversation going over dinner.

Ahhhhh, Italy!

Marcella's gnocchi were a breeze to make. As always she provided a variety of things that the home cook could do to make the recipe as approachable as possible. Don't have bunches of spinach in your market? Use a box of frozen . . .

I also appreciated how she provided you with tips as to the best sauce to use. Since I had made the tomato and heavy cream sauce already I took her advice and served the gnocchi with that.

Once again Marcella helped me hit the ball out of the park (look at me using a sports metaphor - who knew?) . . . these gnocchi were the best! In fact, I believe that they might have been better than that memorable gnocchi we first snuck from Palma's plate back at White Boar in Florence!

Comments (6)

Looking pretty good, there, Gnocchi Boy 2! (Brad will always be GB1)

Looks yummy Jerry! My must try list is getting longer...

Mindy Smith:

I love the way you write Jerry! This recipe (like so many of the others) must taste so amazing!! I only wish I had the patience!

**licking my lips**.....I can't wait to go back to Italy!!!!

Marcella Hazan:

Does it not leave you in awe of the genius of a cuisine that it can produce dishes of unsurpassable satisfaction based on just three ingredients? Especially if you have just read a NY Times Sunday Magazine recipe with 18! From the photographs, it would appear that you are as deft a cook as a raconteur. My compliments. Are you English? You spell flavor with a "u". I have never seen these gnocchi listed as strangolapreti, and if I did I'd accuse the menu writer to be tampering with accepted usage. Strangolapreti is a thick short pasta of which an otherwise unremembered cleric tried to swallow so large a mouthful that he choked on it.

Marcella Hazan:

@ Susie L. You have never tried this either, darling? After all the years that you and Mark have been following me I am startled by the number of my dishes you have never thought to cook.

Marcella, I am very sad to say we have not tried this. Oh, the shame! Especially since we cook from your books at least 5 or 6 dishes a week, going back to the eighties.

I will discuss our transgressions with Mark so that we may remedy this sad situation!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 7, 2010 12:41 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Gnocchi with Gorgonzola.

The next post in this blog is Gratinéed Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi.

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