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Spinach gnocchi from Mark Bittman's 'Leafy Greens'

New York Times' food and opinion columnist Mark

New York Times' food and opinion columnist Mark Bittman's spinach gnocchi, from a reissue of his 1995 book "Leafy Greens." (July 24, 2012) Credit: AP

Spinach not your style? New York Times' food and opinion columnist Mark Bittman says chard and beet greens (leaves only for both) can be substituted.

Start to finish: 60 minutes

Servings: 4 small (suitable for lunch or an appetizer)

10 ounces fresh spinach, tough stems removed

3 or 4 medium potatoes

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Dash or tiny grating of nutmeg, about 1/16 teaspoon

1 cup all-purpose flour, approximately

About 1 cup any light tomato sauce

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set a bowl of ice water nearby.

2. When the water boils, add the spinach and cook until it wilts and the stems become tender, 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to transfer the spinach to the bowl of ice water (leave the pan of water at a boil). Once the spinach has cooled, lift it from the water, squeeze out any excess moisture, then chop very finely.

3. Wash the potatoes. Using the same water the spinach was cooked in, cook the potatoes until tender but not mushy, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl (leave the pan of water at a boil, adding more water if needed).

4. Mash the potatoes or put them through a food mill, then combine them with the spinach, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the flour a bit at a time, kneading with your hands, until the mixture is no longer extremely sticky (the amount of flour you add will depend on the potatoes). Not enough flour will make gnocchi that fall apart; too much will rob them of flavor. Once they stop sticking, add a little more flour and do a test run, then add more flour if necessary. Form the gnocchi, by hand, into inch-long oval shapes.

5. Cook the gnocchi about 6 at a time, lowering them into the water and removing them with a slotted spoon when they rise to the top, 2 to 3 minutes. Place the cooked gnocchi in a warm, shallow bowl and keep warm. When all the gnocchi are cooked, top them with tomato sauce and cheese, then serve.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 400 calories; 25 calories from fat (6 percent of total calories); 2.5 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 5 mg cholesterol; 83 g carbohydrate; 14 g protein; 11 g fiber; 820 mg sodium.

Recipe from Mark Bittman's "Leafy Greens," Wiley, 2012

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