In most of Italy, these dumplings are called gnocchi verdi (gnocchi with greens) and ricotta or ravioli gnudi (“nude ravioli,” or ravioli filling without pasta). In Florence, they are called strozzapreti, or “priest stranglers.” The story goes that a gluttonous priest, who loved these dumplings, ate so many of them so fast that he strangled himself by swallowing them whole. True story or not, these are some of my favorite dumplings. Don’t worry, eat slowly and chew them well, and you will be fine.
340 g/3/4 lb lacinato kale or white chard, ribs removed
15 g/5 tbsp fresh bread crumbs
285 g/1 cup + 2 tbsp whole-milk ricotta cheese, homemade or store-bought
100 g/1 cup + 1 tbsp finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
All-purpose flour for dusting
2 to 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and cold water. Bring a large pot filled with generously salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the kale and blanch until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove immediately from the pot with tongs and transfer to the ice bath. When cool, drain the greens in a colander. Place the greens in a kitchen towel and wring until mostly dry. Finely chop and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, process the bread crumbs until finely ground. Add the kale, eggs, ricotta cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a few swipes of nutmeg and process until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and dust with flour. Scoop a heaping spoonful of the ricotta mixture with one teaspoon, and push it onto a prepared baking sheet with the back of a second teaspoon. With your hands, gently roll the strozzapreti around in the flour to coat. Repeat with the remaining dough. Make sure that the strozzapreti don’t touch or they will stick together.
(To store, refrigerate on the baking sheets, uncovered, for up to 2 days. Do not freeze strozzapreti.)
Bring another large pot filled with generously salted water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the strozzapreti and simmer until they float to the surface, 1 to 3 minutes. Make sure to keep the cooking water at a simmer, as a rapid boil can break apart the strozzapreti. Remove immediately with a slotted spoon to a serving platter or individual bowls. Drizzle with the melted butter and top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve right away.
Excerpted from Pasta By Hand by Jenn Louis, photographs by Ed Anderson (Chronicle Books, 2015).
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