This is a fresh and a very welcome side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. The ricotta and spinach combine nicely with nutmeg, black pepper, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. In addition, these delicate dumplings provide a tasty alternative to turkey for your lacto-ovo vegetarian friends and family.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup flour (divided)
1½ cups ricotta cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 ounces Parmesan cheese (freshly grated fine)
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
4 cups marinara sauce
1 tablespoon fresh Parsley (chopped for garnish)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add spinach leaves turning frequently for the first minute or so. When they cook down, remove them from the pan and allow to cool. Once cool to the touch, chop coarsely. Set aside.
Combine 1/3 cup flour, ricotta, salt and pepper, nutmeg, Parmesan, and eggs in a medium bowl. Stir gently just until combined. Fold in chopped spinach.
Sprinkle some of the remaining flour on a baking sheet. Drop ricotta mixture by the tablespoon onto baking sheet to make about 36 golf ball sized dumplings. Sprinkle dumplings with 1 a little flour, and very gently shape each dumpling into a ball, then gently roll on pan to lightly coat with flour. Tip: this can be ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.
Heat marinara sauce in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cover and keep warm.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 9 dumplings to water and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and place in marinara to keep warm. Repeat procedure (9 dumplings at a time) with remaining dumplings.
To serve, gently transfer dumplings and sauce to a wide serving bowl. Sprinkle parsley on top and bring to table (or side board) while still hot.