Bakezilla: Pretty Girls Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Priest Stranglers

Posted: April 8, 2010 | Author: Bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla, vegetarian | 3 Comments »

Did I get your attention? No, I am not advocating asphyxiating any priests. These are a variation of an Italian dish called strangolaprieti, which translates to “priest-stranglers.” Wikipedia tells me they get their name because priests were said to be rather delicate, and that these dumplings (close cousins of gnocchi) are so hearty they might choke them. How funny!

These are on the hearty side, but I’d like to think they’re too delicious to choke anyone. They also demonstrate what an incredibly awesome and practical cooking method that baking can be. Italian dumplings, such as gnocchi, are usually boiled. However, this carries the risk of them falling apart. Believe me, it’s happened to the best of us. One could also fry them, but that would add a lot of fat and calories. Baking them means they taste good, don’t fall apart, and aren’t saturated in oil! Hurray for baking!

To make these, you will need:
- 10 (or more) ounces of fresh spinach
-3 eggs
-1 cup grated Parmesan (or, if you want, Romano, it’s cheaper)
-1/2 cup ricotta (reduced fat would probably work fine)
-1 1/4 cup unflavored bread crumbs
-2 tbs (or more!) fresh basil
-1/3 cup chopped scallions (or a milder variety of onion)
-1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
-salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Preheat to 400. Spray a baking dish or cookie sheet liberally. Rinse the spinach and chop off the biggest stems, don’t stress too much about it. Place it in a large pot/skillet (preferably nonstick!), cover, cook, stirring a couple times, just until it wilts, like 2 minutes. Put in a colander and let it drain.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Mix in all the remaining ingredients except the spinach. I would say it’s safe to use more ricotta and less bread crumbs, the ricotta gets overpowered easily. Once the spinach is cool enough to touch, squeeze some more water out of it and chop it. Stir it into the mixture. Form the batter into balls, about 2-3 tablespoons each (or smaller, if you want). Bake for about 20 minutes, until they strangolaprieti begin to brown.

Serve topped with tomato sauce. I made a very simple one by cooking up onions, garlic, basil and a big can of diced tomatoes together. A high quality jarred sauce would work fine as well. I would stay away from heavier sauces like Bolognese, because these are pretty heavy already and that would be too much. Sometimes people serve these dumplings with pasta as well, I had made a lot, so I skipped the pasta because I didn’t want leftovers forever. That being said, these do store and heat up well.


3 Comments on “Priest Stranglers”

  1. 1 Adi said at 4:03 pm on April 10, 2010:

    These look delicious! I also love their name–that’s nothing short of hilarious =) I’m brainstorming other ways to eat these–any other ideas besides with pasta or sauce? Do they hold up well enough to go in a soup? Will DEFINITELY be trying these–thanks for the recipe!!

  2. 2 Bakezilla said at 4:48 pm on April 11, 2010:

    I think if you made them a bit smaller they would probably hold up in soup, worth giving it a shot. If you do that, don’t add more ricotta for sure.

    I think an eggplant/bell pepper type sauce might also be quite lovely with these. Anything nice and light would pair well with their heartiness.

  3. 3 Rita said at 10:54 pm on April 13, 2010:

    :-0 These look awwwesome! I could see how these go well with pasta but I think that might be too much for one dish. These served with a green salad and gelato or sorbet would be a nice Italian summer meal I think.

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Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.