We picked some wild spinach up by Malga Zebio the other day … but this works fine with regular spinach too!
First I cook the spinach in a little salted water, drain it and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. I need 250-300 g cooked weight. I mince the vegetable finely and mix it with 300g ricotta, 150 g parmesan, 200 g flour, 2 eggs, salt and pepper. The mixture should be consistent yet soft. With floured hands, on a well-floured surface, I make long sausages which I cut into pieces. I lay the gnocchi on a floured tray until I’m ready to cook them. To cook, I plunge the gnocchi in boiling salted water and remove with a slotted spoon when they rise to the surface.
I layer the gnocchi in a buttered casserole dish with melted butter, parmesan and tomato sauce. The tomato sauce is made with a tin of plum tomatoes, a little onion and carrot, salt and pepper; I cook this for 5 minutes and then whizz it smooth in the Magimix. The sauce should be quite thin.
The dish goes into the oven at 180°C for 20 minutes. OK, this is a labour consuming task but well worth the effort!
Augusta had to wait forty years to buy a set of wooden plates, typical of the Tirol area of Italy and Austria; better late than never.
So for lunch I grilled some polenta and arranged cheese, pickled onion, gherkins and peppers and speck on the platters. Nice with rye bread and a glass of beer.
A recipe for patient cooks … not normally my forte, but the result is worth the effort.
First, I mix 400 gm strong flour with 25 gm butter in the Magimix. then I add a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of sugar, a packet of dried yeast, 200 gm warm water and a beaten egg. I let the machine run two or three minutes to form a soft and smooth dough. I cover the dough and leave it at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I divide 150 gm of butter into three and reduce each third into small pieces. These I keep in the fridge. Now I roll the dough out into a rectangle on a floured surface and place one third of the butter on the top two thirds of the rectangle. I fold up the bottom third over the buttered dough and fold down the top third. I seal the edges with the rolling pin, turn the dough 90 degrees and go through the same process with the next third of the butter. I repeat for the rest of the butter. If the butter is really cold it won’t squish out, but if it does, I just push it back in with a knife! I rest the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes and then repeat the rolling process three times. It goes back into the fridge for 15 minutes. Now I roll out the dough into a 24 X 36 cm rectangle. I divide this into 6 squares and divide each square into a triangle. I brush the triangle with beaten egg and loosely fold the long edge towards the point and bend into a half moon shape. I put the croissants onto a lined baking sheet, brush with beaten egg and leave for 15 minutes at room temperature. They go into a pre-heated oven at 220°C for 15 minutes.
Croissants are lovely for breakfast or morning coffee of course, but we often have them as a supper with Parma ham and a salad. They also freeze well, so you don’t have to eat all 12 at one go!