My Favourite Cheesy Spinach 'Sauce' & Some Tasty Dumplings

dumplings

A quick, multi-purpose recipe for you today using two very healthy ingredients; spinach and ricotta. I’m sure many of you have made some sort of spinach and ricotta filling at some stage, be it for cannelloni or similar. This is my favourite way to prepare it and I find myself returning to this recipe time and time again.

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni was one of the first dishes I learnt how to cook properly from scratch. While traveling through Europe a few years ago I attended an Italian cooking class in Florence where we were shown how to roll out our own pasta, create a simple filling and serve it with a simple tomato sauce. Over the years I’ve worked and reworked the flavours to finally arrive at my ‘staple’ which, I think, has just the right layers of flavour.

It’s quite versatile too, you can of course make cannelloni but I’ve also rolled it up in pastry to make some quick and easy pinwheels, wrapped it up in pizza dough for a very inauthentic calzone or, as I’ve done here for you today, make up some little dumplings for use in a hearty dumpling soup.

Spinach & Ricotta Filling

Makes about 2 cups

1 bunch spinach – washed, ribs removed and chopped into ribbons
1 container of ricotta cheese
1 tspn dried mint
1 tbspn pine nuts, toasted
1 egg
30g goats feta
zest 1/2 lemon
1/2 tspn nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Steam spinach until bright green and limp – about 7 minutes.

Leave to cool for about 5 minutes and wring out the excess moisture.

Finely chop and squeeze out any further liquid.

In a large bowl combine spinach, ricotta, pine nuts, mint, nutmeg, lemon zest, egg and goats cheese.

Season to taste.

Spinach & Ricotta Dumplings
Makes about 36 dumplings

1 batch of Spinach & Ricotta filling

1 packet wonton wrappers (or lasagne sheets cut into squares)

1/2 cup water

Method:

On a clean chopping board lay one wonton wrapper flour side up.

Take one teaspoon of spinach & ricotta mixture and place in the centre of the wrapper.

Using your finger, wet the area around the filling with some water.

Fold the wrapper in half, making sure to remove all the air bubbles.

Moisten the corners and bring them together to form a tortellini shape (this can be a little tricky, have a look at this video to get your head around the technique).

Keep going until you’ve used up all the wrappers.

These dumplings will freeze fantastically well. I usually split the batch in three, cook one lot and freeze the other two.

To cook simply bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. If cooking from frozen give them about 5 minutes.

To serve:

You could make up a lovely, simple tomato sauce such as the one outlined here.

Or you could take a leaf out of Heidi Swanson’s book and make up a lovely broth with yellow split peas.

I decided to do both and combined a little tomato sauce with some broth. I replaced the split peas with some white beans and garnished with fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Delicious!
Enjoy!

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