Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi and Homemade Tomato Sauce

Here is the recipe for my spinach ricotta gnocchi and home made tomato sauce that I made with Les Petits Chef cooking club at Royal St. George's College. I had so much fun and I hope the boys enjoyed the gnocchi making and the taste!
We used cottage cheese for the ricotta and they worked out well, so that is always another option for you if you need it. Check out the awesome photos that Mardi Michels took with her weekly cooking club group, she is one awesome lady and knows how to have fun and whip up some tasty food!

Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi
These delicate little dumplings are from Zia Lina, my dad’s sister. She makes these for any special occasion (usually when we come!) or even just a family meal. If you’re not a fan of spinach just omit it. You can make these and freeze them for meals for the week.

1 bag (10 oz/300 g) fresh baby spinach
1 tub (454 g) ricotta cheese 
2 eggs
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour (approx.)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

In large skillet, cover and cook spinach over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Drain and squeeze spinach well. Chop spinach; set aside. 

In large bowl, whisk together ricotta, eggs and spinach. Gradually stir in 2-1/2 cups (625 mL) of the flour and salt with wooden spoon until soft dough forms. Place dough on floured surface and knead in remaining flour for about 5 minutes to form smooth dough.

Divide dough into 8 pieces; roll one piece at a time into long thin strands, about 1/2 inch (5 mm) in diameter. Cut into about twenty-four 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. 

Roll each piece across tines of a fork or gnocchi paddle. Place in single layer on floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Place in freezer for about 2 hours or until firm.

Makes about 2 lbs, enough for 4 to 6 main course servings.

To cook gnocchi:
In large pot of boiling salted water, cook frozen gnocchi for about 7 minutes or until they float to the top and are tender throughout. Drain with slotted spoon, toss with sauce.

Tip: If cooking fresh gnocchi they will take about 3 to 4 minutes.

Homemade Pasta Sauce
This is an easy sauce to make on the weekend for use through the week. It is great to use with pasta or lasagna or to serve with meats. Leaving the onions and garlic in large pieces adds a soft flavour and they become very soft and are great tasting in the sauce.

2 cans (28 oz/ 796 mL each) plum tomatoes
8 sprigs fresh Italian parsley    
4 leaves fresh basil   
2 cloves garlic    
1 onion, halved    
1/4 cup (50 mL) extra-virgin olive oil    
1 tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano    
1 tsp (5 mL) salt    
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot pepper flakes    
In blender, puree tomatoes until smooth; pour into saucepan. Add parsley, basil, garlic, onion, oil, oregano, salt and hot pepper flakes; bring to boil. Cover partially and simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally or until thickened. Remove onion, if desired.

Makes about 4 cups (1 L).


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