SPINACH POLPETTINE – GNUDI
This is my neighbour Barbara's mum's recipe & is in my book 'Limoncello & Linen Water'. I make it regularly. I love it, it is so simple with so few ingredients. The gnudi have no flour & do not require boiling in water first. They are simply settled into a tomato lined oven dish & baked. Serve as a primo instead of pasta or rice.
650g (1 lb 7 oz) young spinach, trimmed & rinsed
250g (9 oz) fresh ricotta
nutmeg for grating
2 tablespoons grated parmesan + extra for serving
1 egg, lightly whipped
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled & squashed with back of knife
400g tin of tomatoes
a few basil leaves, torn
Cook the spinach in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Drain well, pressing out all the water. Once cooled, chop it up fine & put in a bowl. Add the ricotta, a good grating of nutmeg, the parmesan & egg, mixing it all together. Taste a little for salt & pepper.
Preheat the oven to 180'C (350'F).
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive in a saucepan with the garlic. When it smells good, add the tomatoes & basil & season with salt & pepper. Swirl out the tomato tin with about ½ cup of water & add to the pan. Simmer 5 minutes. If there are big pieces of tomato crush them down with a fork. Remove from the heat.
Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into an oven dish (I use my oval one of 26 x 14cm).
Spoon about half of the tomato sauce onto the bottom.
Take a tablespoon of the spinach mix & edge it gently with another spoon, shaping it compactly as you go, onto the tomato in the dish. Continue with the remaining spinach mix, resting the balls in compact rows. You will have about 16 balls.
Dollop the rest of the tomato over, covering the polpettine here & there. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden in places.
Serve warm, scattered with parmesan & a little extra nutmeg if you like.