Italian Language Blog

The Priest Stranglers Posted by on Feb 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

Gli Strozzapreti (The Priest Stranglers): the latest blockbuster thriller produced by the infamous trio Tizio, Caio, and Sempronio? No, but it is a very nice type of gnocchi made with spinach and ricotta cheese. A couple of days ago we went to my parents for lunch and my mother cooked us gli strozzapreti, don’t ask me the origins of this strange name, I only know that they taste delicious and are well worth the effort to make.


500 gr di spinaci (500 grams of spinach)

200 gr di ricotta (200 grams of ricotta cheese)

30 gr di Parmigiano grattugiato (30 grams of grated Parmesan cheese)

70 gr di farina setacciata (70 grams of plain flour, sifted)

1 uovo (1 egg)

1 cucchiaio di erbe aromatiche fresche tritate come maggiorana, timo, dragoncello (1 tablespoon of fresh herbs finely chopped, e.g. marjoram, thyme, tarragon depending on availability)

Sale e pepe (salt and pepper)

20 gr di burro (20 grams of butter)

Per il condimento: salsa di pomodoro e Parmigiano grattugiato (For the dressing: tomato sauce and grated Parmesan cheese).


Clean and wash the spinach carefully, and cook it for 4-5 minutes in a saucepan. Drain and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, and chop it very finely. Put the spinach in a frying pan with the butter on a high heat, and let all remaining humidity evaporate whilst stirring it with a wooden spoon. If you are using frozen spinach, thaw it first and then put it straight in the frying pan with the butter.

Put the prepared spinach in a mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, chopped herbs, flour, grated Parmesan cheese, the egg, and the salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, and let the mixture cool down completely. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil (about 2.5 liters).

With your hands lightly dusted with flour shape the spinach and ricotta mixture into small walnut sized balls, and place them on a plate dusted with flour. Cook the gnocchi in small batches by lowering them into the gently simmering water, return to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until the gnocchi float to the surface. Remove the gnocchi from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain them, then transfer them into a Pyrex dish. Cover them with the tomato sauce and the grated Parmesan cheese, and put them in a preheated oven (200C degrees, 400F, Gas Mark 6) for about 20 minutes.

N.B. If you are not used to using metric measurements you could always visit a conversion website such as this one:, or do a search for ‘convert grams to ounces’.

Buon Appetito!

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  1. Melissa:

    Ciao Serena, proprio ieri ho fatto la pasta a mano e era fantastica! Vorrei invitarti di vedere i risultati che ho pubblicato sul mio blog “Diario di una Studentessa Matta” ( Scusa per lasciarti il link in questo messagio… ti avrei scritto back channel, ma non trovo un modo per farlo. Allora, Viva la pasta & buon appetito!

  2. Anneke:

    My best impulsive buy last year was: Soffritto; a delicious Ligurian memoir, lived by Lucio Galletto and written by David Dale. I hope you will be able to have a meal at the family’s restaurant at Bocca di Magra: Capannina Ciccio.

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