Spinach and Tofu Gnocchi melt in the mouth with their delicate flavor.
It is the first day of June and if you add that it is a Bank Holiday so school and jobs are off you would want to go outside for a walk or a little trip…but hey, no: the weather really is awful!
It is hard to find any desire for going out.
So once again the fire is roaring and there is plenty of time to cook something a bit complicate for today’s dinner.
When I have spinach in the house, the first recipe that always comes to my mind is Spinach and Tofu Gnocchi.
Simply because I adore them – as I adore any types of gnocchi (and there are so many in Italy!).
My spinach and tofu gnocchi are a variation of the traditional Italian Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi, which is typical of Tuscany but also of Trentino and Veneto.
The name of this dish changes depending on the area.
In some places they are called Malfatti, literally “badly done”, as they don’t usually have a regular shape.
In other places, they are Gnudi, a dialect word for “naked”, as they are basically like the filling of the ricotta and spinach ravioli, only being without the pasta that wrap them they are indeed “naked”.
Another funny name for these gnocchi is “Strozzapreti” (name used for a type of pasta as well).
Strozzapreti is literally “priest stranglers”, because the priests were known to be very greedy and willing to put so much of this dish in their mouth that they would die strangled by the quantity.
Another reason for this name is that it is said that sometimes a woman in the village prepared this plate to obtain favors from the priest. Her husband, willing to eat the spinach and ricotta gnocchi himself, wished for the priest to die strangled while eating them!
Last, they can simply be called Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi like my mum used to call them.
And that’s how I call them myself as my mum was the one who taught me how to prepare them after learning the tricks from her sister, my dear Aunt Giorgina.
I substituted the ricotta with tofu as I am trying to reduce dairies but I don’t feel like excluding eggs. Without eggs, achieving the right consistency could be a bit tricky.
- 500 g boiled spinach squeezed
- 500g drained soft tofu (left for an hour on a sieve or sauted mashed in a pan until dry)
- 1 egg
- Whole wheat flour
- 4 leaves of sage
- 2 garlic cloves
Chop finely with a knife the spinach and add them to the mashed tofu.
Combine the egg.
Add 6 or more tablespoon of flour (it depends on the consistency achieved).
Add salt and nutmeg to taste.
Let the dough rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Dust a tray with aboundant flour.
Place more flour on a plate.
Shape the gnocchi with two table spoon and roll them in the flour.
Or if you prefer shape them as balls and roll them in the flour.
The flour will create a protective film that will stop the Spinach and Tofu Gnocchi from dissolve in the water.
Then place them distanced on the dusted tray.
Bring plenty of water to the boil in a pot and put salt in it.
Gently place 5 or 6 gnocchi at a time in the boiling water.
In the meantime heat a good quantity of extra virgin olive oil in a little saucepan together with the garlic and the sage (the traditional Italian recipe requires butter).
This will be the gnocchi dressing and it will be ready when the sage results crunchy and the garlic light brown.
When the first gnocchi come to surface drain them using a little metal sieve or a special laddle with holes
Place them on a serving dish that maybe you can keep warm placing it under a pot with hot water in.
Cook all the gnocchi and from time to time pour some of the oil with garlic and sage on top.
Don’t mix them.
If you are not vegan, enjoy them with grated Parmesan on top!