Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spinach Ricotta Dumplings

Most of our family meals this time of year are the kind that go together quickly or can sit in the Crock Pot for people to eat whenever they can.  With three kids playing four sports and other various activities, not to mention, I have a few personal interests of my own that keep me busy, things can get a bit crazy come meal time.

Here is a recipe that fits neither one of the categories listed above.  But with all of the rain we've had lately causing practices to sometimes be cancelled, I then have the time to spend in the kitchen and prepare a meal that's a little more involved.  With that said, this meal comes together in less than an hour.  So don't write this recipe off thinking it will take a long time to make.

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings
Here's What You Need:
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
6 Tablespoons flour
2 eggs
Freshly ground pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups marinara sauce
2 Tablespoons butter

Here's What You Do:
Pour yourself a glass of wine.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer.  Not a boil.  A simmer.  Simmer is what I do when my kids start bickering and aren't listening to me when I tell them to "knock it off!"  Boil is what I do when after repeated warnings, they continue to pick at one another and call names.  Just wanted to clarify for you.

Put the spinach in a large bowl and separate it with your hands.  Add the ricotta, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, flour, eggs, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and the nutmeg.

Mix with a fork to form a slightly sticky dough.

Spread some flour on a plate.  Scoop out heaping tablespoonfuls of the spinach-ricotta mixture and roll into about 24 loose balls using floured hands.  Gently roll the balls in the flour.  Line them up on a cookie sheet until they are ready for the water.

Bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a large skillet over medium heat.  Whisk in the butter.

Gently lower the dumplings into the simmering water and cook until they rise to the surface and are firm, about 5 minutes.  I had to do the dumplings in two batches not wanting to crowd the pan with the dumplings.  Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon, letting the water drain off, and add them to the sauce.

Gently toss to coat with the marinara sauce.  Serve with a salad or steamed veggies, crusty bread and remaining Parmesan cheese.  This recipe came directly from the May issue of Food Network Magazine.  Enjoy!

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