A great winter warming recipe - polenta gnocchi with a watercress, spinach and rocket Florentine sauce all topped with parmesan - great as a vegetarian main meal or a side dish with a hearty stew or casserole.
Inspired by gnocchi Romana which is traditionally made with semolina and prepared simply with butter and parmesan. I have added this super-green Florentine to try and add a tasty little boost to my immune system in this cold and flu season.
The super-greens (watercress, spinach and rocket) add lots of vitamins and antioxidants as well as a lovely peppery taste which works well with the crème fraiche that makes the super simple super-green Florentine sauce!
This is a really simple recipe - the hardest bit is stirring the polenta while it cooks and thickens up - which does give you arms a bit of a work out but listen to some music and it'll be over in no time - no pain no gain as they say ;)
This is also a great gluten-free and vegetarian dish.
serves 3-4 as a main or 6 as a side dish
preparation time: 45 minutes (plus about 1 hour cooling time)
cooking time: 20 minutes
3 cups fine/coarse cornmeal/polenta
6 cups water
30g grated parmesan/pecorino
1 tbs butter
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
black pepper to taste
1 tbs chopped sage leaves
few gratings of nutmeg
super-green florentine sauce
300ml creme fraiche (mascarpone/soft cheese would also work well)
100g mixed spinach, watercress, rocket leaves
black pepper to taste
30-50g parmesan or pecorino cheese to grate on top before baking
- pre-heat the oven to 200C
- add salt, chopped sage and nutmeg to the water and bring to the boil in a large saucepan
- when boiling add the polenta in a steady stream to prevent lumps (do as I say not as I do as I accidentally added in one big clump which made it harder work to get the lumps out!)
- stir, stir, and then stir some more - for about 30-45 minutes with a wooden spoon until the polenta starts to leave the sides of the pan and has thickened up and all lumps are gone.
- take off the heat and add the grated cheese and butter - stir until combined then tip onto a greased surface or tray
- spread out with a knife to about 1.5cm thick (dipping the knife in boiled water helps prevent the polenta sticking to it) then leave until completely cool. You can put in fridge to speed things up, but I left mine on the work surface and it was cold in about 1 hour.
- cut into small circles (I used a 5cm cutter) to make your polenta gnocchi and then put into a greased oven dish slightly overlapping
- you can add any offcuts together and flatten again to cut out more gnocchi if you still have some left over or save in the fridge for another day.
- chop the watercress, spinach and rocket roughly then add to the creme fraiche to make your super-green Florentine sauce - add black pepper to taste.
- top the gnocchi with the sauce then add more grated cheese to top before baking.
- bake at 200C for about 20 minutes - until the gnocchi are heated through and the top is golden and bubbling
I served this with a fresh, super-green leaf and beetroot salad.
It would also work well as a side dish to a hearty, wintery stew or casserole. I hope you enjoy - please check out my other recipes on http://chipbuttiesandnoodlesoup.blogspot.co.uk/