Friday, November 21, 2014

FFWD ~ Storzapretis ~ aka Corsican Spinach and Mint Gnocchi

Storzapretis (aka Corsican Spinach and Mint Gnocchi)

This week, for French Fridays, we are making Storzapretis (aka Corsican Spinach and Mint Gnocchi). Corsica is a region of France, much like Normandy or Brittany.  However, Dorie tells us, it might as well have rogue nation status.  It's an island in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to France.  It is located in the Italian Peninsula south east of the French mainland, and north of the Italian island of Sardinia. Its Italian history is very evident in it's cuisine.  

In Italian, Storzapertis translates to “priest choker”.  In culinary terms it simply means, an elongated form of cavatelli, or fusilli.  In Corsica, and in regions of Tuscany and Umbria, Storzapretis refers to a baked cheese and vegetable dish, or gnocchi.  

Wonderfully delicious!
This recipe tended to be a bit time consuming, but I would say well worth the effort. I used frozen chopped spinach, defrosted it, and squeezed it dry. I then added it to the drained ricotta, along with the chopped fresh mint, eggs and grated cheese. 
I was grateful for all the chatter about this recipe in the P&Q’s for French Fridays. I made sure my ricotta was well drained; by leaving it sit in a cheesecloth-lined colander overnight.  I froze the molded gnocchi, for a few hours, before I cooked them. I was also sure to keep the water at a simmer instead of a hard boil. Thank you, Mardi, and Liz for the helpful hints.  

That said, I didn’t run into any problems preparing these gnocchi.  I decided to put a bit of sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish, like I do with stuffed shells. It worked well!  I then spooned some sauce over the top of the Gnocchi, along with the cheese, before baking them.  I served them with some Italian bread and a big salad! I really enjoyed these, but Bill...not so much! He did eat them, but thought they had too much spinach in them (go figure). When I asked him what I could add to make them more Bill friendly, he said “nothing”! Oh well! Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe is from “Around My French Table”, and since it has been published I decided to share it with all of you. To see what the other Doristas thought of this recipe you can find it here.

The Storzapretis just out of the freezer…
Simmer  until they float on top of the water
 After you pat them dry, place them in baking the baking dish…I put some sauce on the bottom
Spoon on more sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and bake
Simply delicious!
Bon Appétit   

Storzapretis: Corsican Spinach and Mint Gnocchi
by  Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table      

Serves 6 starter servings or 4 main-course servings
10 ounces spinach, trimmed
1 pound whole-milk ricotta or fresh brocciu, if you can get it
1 large egg
5 ounces cheese, such as Gruyere or Emmenthal or a combination of Gruyere and Parmesan, grated (about 1 1/4 cup)
1 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I made my own but you can use a good-quality store bought marinara as well)

Wash the spinach in several changes of cool water, toss into a large pot, with the water still clinging to the leaves. Place the pot over medium-low heat, cover and cook the spinach, turning often, until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Turn the spinach into a colander and shake out as much of the water as possible.

When the spinach is cool enough to handle, press out the remainder of the water (or as much as you can) by squeezing small bunches of the spinach between your palms or by twisting them in a kitchen towel. Coarsely chop the spinach, toss it into a bowl, and use your fingers to pull the clumps of spinach apart as best you can.

With a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon, beat the ricotta or brocciu into the spinach, followed by an egg. Stir in half of the grated cheese and the mint, sprinkle over the flour, season with salt and pepper and blend. You'll have a soft, malleable mixture. 

Line a baking sheet or tray that will fit in the fridge with plastic wrap. Make a mound of about 1/4 cup flour on your work surface. 

Working with two tablespoons, scoop up a tablespoonful of the cheese mixture with one spoon and then scrape the mix from one spoon to the other until you've formed a cohesive quenelle. Drop the quenelle into the mound of flour, and then toss it gently from hand to hand to shake off the excess.  After working the mixture this way, your quenelle will probably look like a large, slightly misshapen bullet, and that's just fine. Put the nugget on the lined sheet and continue until you've used all the dough, you'll have about 3 dozen strozapreti.

Chill or freeze the strozapreti for about 30 minutes, just to firm them a bit. (I refrigerated them overnight).

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil an 9x13 baking dish (glass, porcelain or pottery).

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and have a big bowl of ice and cold water nearby.

Remove the strozapretis from the refrigerator or freezer. Lower the heat under the pot so that the water is at a simmer, and carefully drop some strozapreti into the pot-- don't crowd the pot-- work in batches of 8 to 10 at a time. The nuggets will sink to the bottom of the pot and then pop to the top. After they do, let them gently bob around in the pot for about 5 minutes, then lift them out of the simmering water with a slotted spoon and drop them into the ice water.

Continue poaching and cooling the rest.

Drain the strozapreti, and dry between sheets of paper towels-- be careful, they're soft and fragile-- then arrange them in the oiled pan. Pour the tomato sauce over the strozapreti, top with the remaining grated cheese, and slide the pan into the oven.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling hot, the cheese melted and the strozapreti heated through. Serve immediately. 


  1. These look amazing - glad you found our tips useful!

  2. Very pretty, Kathy :-) These weren't family approved in my house either (because of the mint). But with as many hits as we have had from this book, I can't begrudge the occasional miss...

    Have a lovely holiday!

  3. Freezing is a great tip! Your gnocchi looks PERFECT! A winner for my Bill...too bad yours wasn't a fan, but that just makes more for you :)

  4. Beautiful--and we know they taste as good as they look! Isn't that funny how sometimes, for some people, recipes are just kind of a "no." Sounds like that's exactly the case for Bill. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. It looks AMAZING and definitely worth all the efforts and time, Kathy.

  6. Your photos are actually INCREDIBLE :D
    I would love to try this mint gnocchi, even if mint isn't my favourite :P

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. Hmmm, priest choker - glad I didn't know that! You have managed to make this rather unphotogenic dish look elegant - you are a whiz Kathy!

  8. Delectable! That's all I can say Kathy:) I wans't too sure about the mint at first but after spending a few minutes here reading and digesting I do believe I would be liking it myself. More for all I suppose!!

    Love the taste of history, Kathy. Thanks so much for sharing...

  9. I love Bill's comment! And your dinner looks fabulous. I didn't have any trouble making these either, it was kind of fun, though it was much more labor-intensive than I thought. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  10. I love these gnochi look delicious@

  11. This looks deliciously fantastic - what else can I say. I would sit down at your table in an instant - too much spinach or no! Kathy, what a gorgeous job you did with this recipe. I intend to make it in January and certainly will be linking back to this informative post. Have you ever been to Corsica? As many times as I have been to France and Europe, I have never been there. I want to do it so I better get traveling.

  12. mmm...delishy! I just made mine and also very grateful that I read the P&Qs.

  13. Yours look absolutely perfect, Kathy! Next time I make them, I'm going to follow your lead and spoon sauce onto the bottom of the pan and only a little on top - so much prettier that way.

  14. Really beautiful, Kathy! What a lot of work!

  15. Kathy, your dish looks perfect. I enjoyed making these and loved them. I used the marjoram instead of
    mint and it was delicious. Enjoy your time down south with family, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  16. Very pretty Kathy! I too found the tips helpful and I followed Adrianna's lead and skipped the poaching step to good end I think. Makes this recipe much simpler:) Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! I know you will enjoy your time in the south:)

  17. You took all the right advice and your dish came out fantastic. So glad yours was a success.

  18. My husband asked where the meat was:-) But then he said he liked the "meatless meatballs" after all. Oh well, can't always please the husbands.

  19. I like your idea of putting sauce in the bottom of the pan, my husband thought that it needed more sauce. My husband loved them but I also made with marjoram, he hates mint. Happy Thanksgiving.

  20. I have to say the I am fascinated with the name. The actual name for 'priest stranglers' is strozzapreti (no need to add an 's' as it is plural as is!) I wonder of the 'storza' is a Corsican transliteration of 'strozza' - has anyone said anything about this? I am so curious. Strozzapreti in Italy are a form of pasta - not a gnocchi like these. These are usually referred to as 'gundi" as they are naked ravioli, or ravioli without their clothes (pasta).

    In any case, yours are incredibly beautiful and I could dig into a plateful right now! Beautiful presentation, and terrific photos! Brava, Kathy, brava!

    1. P.S. - I hope you don't think I am being obnoxious by asking about this. I am just really curious about the etymology of it! :)

  21. These are just stunning Kathy! I'll bet I could even get the kids to eat this. I love using spinach in winter dishes...

  22. Kathy, absolutely stunning presentation of your strozapetri in that delicious looking tomato sauce.Perfectly shaped gnocchi and perfectly presented!
    Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  23. They look great and have to be delicious Kathy! Thanks for the recipe.

  24. They look perfect, Kathy. I am becoming more convinced now that the second cheese I use did not help them stick together. Emmenthal and Gruyere are definitely 'meltier'.

  25. Dear Kathy, That does look delicious. I definitely know I would enjoy it.
    Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours. xo Catherine

  26. yours looks beautiful! ;) I'm making mine with mint today too! :)

  27. These gnocchi look so inviting and totally delicious! Happy Thanksgiving! May you enjoy moments of relaxation and joy among people you love!

  28. This looks like a beautiful dish, and much lighter than the potato gnocchi that I am used to. I just love spinach, tomato sauce, and cheese.