The River Cafe’s spinach and ricotta gnocchi

Serves 6



2 1/4 lbs (1 kg)
fresh spinach
1/4 cup (50g)
unsalted butter
1 small bunch
fresh marjoram
14 ounces (400g)
fresh ricotta
8 tsp (40g)
all-purpose flour
nutmeg, grated
2 ounces (120g)
Parmesan, freshly grated, plus extra for serving
1 cup (225g)
unsalted butter
1 bunch
of fresh sage leaves


  • Blanch the spinach in boiling water until wilted, then squeeze dry. You should have about ¾ pound (350g) blanched spinach.
  • Melt the ¼ cup butter in a pan, add the picked marjoram leaves and cook for a minute. Add the spinach and stir to combine the flavors. Season, then leave to cool. When cooled, chop roughly.
  • In a large bowl, lightly beat the ricotta with a fork. Sift in the flour. Add the egg yolks, nutmeg and Parmesan and mix well. Finally, fold in the cooled spinach mixture until well combined. Taste for seasoning.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Use two dessert spoons for shaping the gnocchi: with one of them take a small spoonful of the mixture and, using the other spoon, mold the mixture so that it forms a gnoccho (a small oval dumpling about ¾ inch [2cm] in diameter). Place on the baking sheet. Continue making the gnocchi—they should all be the same size.
  • To make the sage butter, heat the 1 cup butter gently so it separates. Pour out the clarified butter into a clean pan and return to the heat. When very hot, add the sage leaves. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Gently place the gnocchi in the water in batches—it is important not to overcrowd the pot. When the gnocchi come back to the surface, remove carefully with a slotted spoon and briefly place the spoon on paper towels to drain off excess water.
  • Keep the gnocchi warm, tossed with some of the sage butter, in a warm oven while you cook the rest.
  • Serve immediately on warm plates with the remaining sage butter and extra Parmesan.

Excerpted from River Café London: Thirty Years of Recipes and the Story of a Much-Loved Restaurant by Ruth Rogers, Rose Gray, Sian Wyn Owen and Joseph Trivelli. Copyright © Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray 1995. Published in the United States by Borzoi Books an imprint of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.



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