Gnocchi Verdi

James Beard

Author and Educator

“These are sometimes called malfatti, which means “badly made,” because they are so delicate that when they are cooked they are quite uneven in shape. You have to skim them out of the water very, very carefully because of their fragility, but they well repay the care: they just melt on your tongue when you eat them.”

–James Beard


  • Gnocchi Verdi:

  • 12 ounces spinach, cooked, drained, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Put the spinach in a saucepan with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, butter, and ricotta. Stir it over low heat for about 5 minutes to dry it out. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, and flour. Set mixture aside to cool for 2 hours.

Dust a wooden board and your hands with flour. Pull off walnut-sized pieces of the spinach mixture, and form croquettes the shape of a cork. Roll them in the flour and, when they are all ready, drop them carefully into a large pot of very gently simmering water. Don’t let the water boil, the action may cause the gnocchi to disintegrate. If the mixture seems too soft, don’t worry, because the eggs and flour will hold the gnocchi together when they come in contact with the simmering water.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

When the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, they are finished cooking. Skim them off with a slotted spoon, drain them well, and place them in an ovenproof baking dish lightly coated with butter. Pour the melted butter over them, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese, and heat the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.


6 servings