Friday, May 27, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings and marinara

When I made these I thought they were OK, I figured I wouldn't bother to blog them, but Duncan absolutely loved them - took them for lunch the next day, and I actually liked them more than I expected, so I guess they are blog worthy.  My major problem with them is just the fact that I don't actually care for dumplings of any type - not a fan of the texture.  However, like I said, I actually liked them more than I expected. I'd probably rate them a 3.5, possibly 4 - they get a 5 from Duncan though, which brings my rating right up to a 4.
This recipe would also have been easier if I had remembered to buy frozen chopped spinach, but I didn't (or chose not to - can't remember at this point - but I do know I used fresh Spinach so I had to cook and chop it first.)  The recipe comes from my Food Network Magazine.  I have slightly adapted it mostly to cut some of the 32 grams of fat in the original recipe.  I'm also pretty sure I used 16 oz. spinach, 2 cups ricotta.... - extra because the original said it was only 4 servings.  However, unfortunately I didn't make notes in my original recipe like I normally do, and some of it was by feel - like the flour, so I leave the original quantities.


  • 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (or 10 oz fresh spinach chopped and cooked until just barely wilted - I do that in a frying pan - no water or anything.  I just saute it.)
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta (I used fat free, but recipe called for whole-milk)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 Tablespoons flour plus more for rolling
  • 2 large eggs
  • freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups prepared marinara sauce (I used the recipe that follows -which is a mini, quick version of the marinara I like to make in my slow cooker)
Marinara sauce ingredients
  • 2 15 oz. cans crushed tomatoes (although for the amount I made (16 oz. spinach) I would use a third can next time.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon dehydrated, minced onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil (I may or may not have added this, I can't remember)
  • salt and pepper to taste - I think I used 1/2 teaspoon of each
  1. Combine all Marinara sauce ingredients in a large skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer while preparing the rest of the meal. (If not making homemade marinara, put it in the large skillet and start to heat after step 3.)
  2. Bring a large wide pot of salted water to a simmer.  (I used my saute pan, but it is kind of shaped like a wok, and rather deep.  I had sauteed my spinach in it, so I just used the same pan.  A large dutch oven would be a great choice if using frozen spinach.)
  3. Put the spinach in a large bowl and separate it with you hands.  Add the ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, the flour, eggs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the nutmeg.  Mix with a fork to form a slightly sticky dough.  
  4. Spread some flour on a plate.  Scoop out heaping Tablespoonfuls of the spinach-ricotta mixture and roll into about 24 balls.  Roll the balls in flour.  If not making homemade marinara, put it in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Gently lower the dumplings into the simmering water and cook until they rise to the surface and are firm, about 5 minutes (although I cooked mine a bit longer - like 8-10.)  remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon, letting water drain off and add to the sauce.  Gently toss to coat, then transfer to plates and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

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