Gnocchi Verdi with Napoletana Sauce

For a taste of Italy try Ed Baines's spinach dumplings, served with a tasty tomato sauce
By Ed Baines
Gnocchi Verdi with Napoletana Sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a main
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1 hr chilling
  • Effort: medium



  • 115 g pressed spinach, cooked
  • 250 g ricotta cheese
  • 50 g parmesan, freshly grated (plus extra to serve)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 50 g plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 01/2 lemons, juice only
  • black pepper

For the Napoletana sauce:

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 x 230g tins tomatoes, drained of their juices
  • 1 bunches basil, ripped
  • black pepper


1. First make the Napoletana sauce. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Fry the garlic gently until softened. Add the drained tinned tomatoes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to very low and cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Now make the spinach gnocchi. First make sure that you've squeezed the cooked spinach very tightly, squeezing out any excess moisture.

3. Take a large tray and sift the flour across it. Roughly chop the squeezed spinach and spread it evenly over the flour. Season with nutmeg, salt and freshly ground pepper. Gently work the spinach and flour together using a fork.

4. Gently squeeze handfuls of the ricotta to remove excess moisture. Crumble the ricotta into a large mixing bowl. Add the spinach and flour mixture, Parmesan and the yolks. Using a fork, gently work the ingredients together until they form a rough dough.

5. Lightly flour 2 large plates. Take two teaspoons and with the first scoop out a spoonful of the spinach ricotta mixture. Gently press the second teaspoon down over the mixture, forming a small dumpling or gnocchi. As each dumpling is made place it carefully on the floured plates. Continue this process until all the spinach dough has been shaped into gnocchi. Cover the plates with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.

6. Add 150ml water to the Napoletana sauce and mix in over a low heat. Add the ripped basil. Remove the sauce from the heat.

7. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the gnocchi in three separate batches to the boiling water. The gnocchi are ready within about 1 minute, when they rise to the surface of the water. Carefully remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon.

8. Divide the gnocchi among the serving plates. Top with Napoletana sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

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