Spinach and Sheep's-Milk Ricotta Gnocchi with Asiago

When we moved back to New York, after living in New Orleans for 6 years, we lived in a small apartment on Carroll Street in Park Slope.  I liked the close proximity to Prospect Park and was excited about the neighborhood restaurants.  In addition to Al di La and Rose WaterConvivium Osteria was high on my "go-to" list.  I eventually went and it did not disappoint.  
Convivium is part Italian, part Spanish and part Portuguese and it's all parts delicious.  As a vegetarian I was happy to see an entrée on the menu that wasn't pasta.  These spinach and sheep's-milk ricotta gnocchi with Asiago cheese are rich little dumplings that hit the spot.  You only need about 7 or 8 per portion.  Also, since there aren't a lot of ingredients in this dish, it really is important to buy the highest quality of cheese and produce you can find.  As they say in Lisboa, Bom apetite!
Spinach and Sheep's Milk Ricotta Gnocchi with Asiago (Convivium Osteria, by way of The New Brooklyn Cookbook)
Makes 32 Gnocchi
For the gnocchi:
1 1/2 pounds of organic spinach, stems removed, coarsley chopped (I used small leaf)
1 cup (1/2 pound) sheep's-milk ricotta or well-drained whole-milk ricotta*
2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
1/4 cup unseasoned fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided (1/4 for the gnocchi and 1/2 for dredging) 
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon coarse salt
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese, plus (quite a bit) more for garnish
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
* If using whole-milk ricotta, wrap the ricotta in a cheesecloth, gather into a ball, tie and drain over a bowl in the refrigerator overnight.


Directions:
1. To prepare the gnocchi: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the spinach and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender but not mushy.  Drain in a colander and use the back of a wooden spoon to force out any excess water.  Wrap the spinach in a clean dish towel and wring out any remaining water.  Spread the spinach on a dry surface.  When it is no longer steaming, transfer it to a large bowl.  Add the ricotta and mix with a fork until well combined.  Add the eggs, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup flour, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt.  Mix until smooth.
2. Place 1/2 cup flour in a shallow dish, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment (I used wax paper) and lightly flour the parchment.  Using two tablespoons, shape the mixture into ovals.  Dredge the gnocchi in flour to coat, then tap off any excess.  Place the gnocchi on the baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.
3.  When you are ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the sauce.  Combine the Asiago, milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
4.  Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the saucepan with the sauce.  Gently toss to coat, cooking for 30 seconds.  Divide the gnocchi and sauce among the bowls and garnish with additional Asiago.