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Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings in Tomato Sauce (Palline al Verde)

4 to 6 Servings

1¾ hours

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At Trattoria Antico Falcone in Rome, palline al verde—which translates as “green balls”—were small dumpling-like orbs of ricotta, Parmesan and an abundance of spinach. Since the only binder was egg, their texture was delicate and creamy, and their flavor was fresh and light, complemented by a simple tangy-sweet tomato sauce. A dredging of flour just before the palline were cooked created a barely-there coating that helped hold the dumplings together as they simmered and gave the sauce a surface to cling to. When re-creating the dish, we found it necessary to also add a little flour to the dumpling mixture to accommodate the quality of the ricotta sold in U.S. supermarkets. Store-bought frozen spinach, squeezed dry to remove excess moisture, offers convenience without sacrificing flavor or texture. Antico Falcone offers palline al verde as a first course, but with crusty bread and a leafy salad alongside, we think it makes an excellent light main.

4 to 6



Don’t skip the step of refrigerating the dumplings before dredging them in flour and forming them into balls. They are easier to shape when chilled and will hold together better when simmered.

1¾ hours

For the dumplings:

  • 2

    10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed


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Bodi L.
April 22, 2024
My dumplings came out great - light and flavorful. I followed the recipe exactly, leaving them in the refrigerator for a little over an hour.
Stephen P.
April 21, 2024
Good gnudi variant.
Early adopter reviews said they had problems with this disassociating in the hot water. Based on that, I made sure that the ricotta and spinach were well and truly drained. We used semolina instead of flour based on other experiences that we’ve had with gnudi. With all of that, we did not have an issue with the balls coming apart. We weren’t overly fond of the tomato sauce (too bright for our taste) but an hour more simmering would have fixed that. I’ll make this again. It was delicious.
Clete G.
April 16, 2024
They fell apart
I followed the recipe carefully. Put 20 dumplings into boiling water but only 6 survived. The others fell apart. Any suggestions? Would they turn out better if I steamed them?
Pooja P.
April 14, 2024
Sounded great.
Unfortunately, my dumplings fell apart.
Andrew A.
April 16, 2024
Something wrong in this recipe
Something is off here - spinach ricotta mixture was almost soupy. Tried adding breadcrumbs to rescue but to no use. Completely fell apart in the water. Had to toss the entire batch and quite disappointed at the time and food wasted.