Spinach and Bread Gnocchi

  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • Prep: 45 minutes
  • Cook: about 15 minutes


5ounces stale white bread
2cups milk
3pounds 5oz fresh spinach, washed
1 egg and 2 egg yolks, beaten
2tablespoons light cream (or use the milk from the soaked bread)
1 1/2cups Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3cup all-purpose flour
1/2cup unsalted butter
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the bread in a large bowl, pour the milk over to cover and leave to soak until soft. Squeeze the bread as dry as possible with your hands and leave to one side. At the same time, steam the spinach in a large saucepan until tender, then drain and leave to cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible, then chop the spinach finely or blitz it in a food processor. Put the spinach in a large mixing bowl and stir in the egg and egg yolks, then the cream. Add the bread and half the cheese, season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper, then combine together.
  2. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil. To test the mixture is the correct consistency, wet the inside of a small glass with water, then lightly dust with flour but do not over-flour or the gnocchi will be rubbery. Drop a tablespoon of the mixture into the glass and shake the glass, tipping it to shape the mixture into gnocchi. Repeat with another tablespoon of the mixture. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water – they should float to the surface in about 2 minutes, hold their shape and taste flavoursome. If not, adjust the remaining mixture by adding more egg or a little flour, or both, and extra salt and pepper if needed.
  3. When the correct texture is achieved, continue shaping the remaining mixture in the glass, re-flouring it as necessary, and tip out onto a floured baking sheet, spacing the gnocchi well apart. Chill until required.
  4. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Working in small batches, slip the gnocchi into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and keep warm in the oven. Continue until all the gnocchi are cooked. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Pour it over the gnocchi, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Fiori Di Zucca © Valentina Harris, Watkins Publishing 2013. Photography by William Lingwood.