Fall is here, and though my menu hasn't taken a complete 180 toward soups and stews just yet, I do find myself in the mood for something warm and comforting a lot lately.
Enter the gnocchi - a rustic potato dumpling pasta that's satisfying all year round. I decided to lighten mine up with some greenage.
Rustic Spinach Gnocchi with 10-Minute Marinara
(yield: 4-5 servings)
1, 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed
2 large Idaho potatoes, peeled & cut into medium dice
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 of a small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups (16 oz) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
3 oz goat cheese
Place potatoes into a medium pot filled with cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to low simmer, and cook 12-14 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and Transfer to a large bowl. Drain the thawed spinach, squeezing out every last drop of water, and add to potatoes. While the potatoes are still warm, mash together with the spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly, and mix in the egg. Begin to incorporate 1 cup of the flour, until a dough forms and ceases to stick to your fingers. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Make the Marinara Sauce: Warm a saucepan over medium-low heat, and add olive oil. Add onions and garlic to the pan, and sweat 2-3 minutes. Place crushed tomatoes and basil into the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and use either an immersion blender or potato masher to smooth out any chunks of tomato that remain.
Roll the dough: Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep the rest refrigerated in the meantime). Flour your work surface and hands with some of the remaining flour, and gently roll the dough with the palms of your hands to form a long cylinder, about 1 inch thick. Cut the cylinder into 1-inch pieces, adjusting the shape of the gnocchi with your fingers. Repeat with remaining dough. Place gnocchi into a large pot of boiling, salted water. You may have to cook them in batches so as not to overcrowd the pot. Cook 3-4 minutes, until they begin to float. Drain gnocchi and toss with the marinara sauce. Crumble some goat cheese over the top, and dig in.