Francesco Maccapani Missoni collected his family recipes for The Missoni Family Cookbook, published by Assouline.
The Missoni family name may be synonymous with fashion and colorful, zigzag-striped knitwear, but to those who know them, it’s also a name that makes their friends and loved ones think of a good meal. At creative director Angela Missoni’s home in Italy, it’s tradition to try out new dishes at their large family gatherings, where, according to Francesco Maccapani Missoni — her son with Marco Maccapani and the grandson of Tai and Rosita Missoni, founders of the eponymous fashion brand — the food is served in and on “jewel-like colored crystal glasses, crazy patterned ’50s ceramics, brightly painted tableware, and colorful embroidered tablecloths from all over the world.” At Missoni meals, one could enjoy dishes like Fegato alla Veneta al Modo del Nonno Tai (Grandpa Tai’s Venetian-Style Calf’s Liver), Montebianco di Mari (Mari’s Chestnut Meringue Mont Blanc), and Vol-au-Vent alla Finanziera della Nonna Rosita (Grandma Rosita’s Vol-Au-Vent Alla Finanziera). Food brings the entire Missoni family together.
Now, thanks to Francesco Maccapani Missoni, who helms a Milan-based startup, you don’t have to be connected to the Missoni family to enjoy one of the recipes served at their gatherings. Maccapani Missoni wrote “The Missoni Family Cookbook“, published by Assouline. In it, he introduces readers to Missoni family traditions, celebrated with local produce and fresh seasonal ingredients.
“Food has always been a family affair for me,” wrote Maccapani Missoni in the book. The act of recreating beloved recipes, of quietly working away with my hands on something that’s going to give so much pleasure to those I love, is incredibly meaningful to me. Working side by side, nourishing family and friends, picking and choosing, preparing, cooking, and serving food—all this is tied up with emotion. It’s a love thing, I suppose, and I really value the continuity of the cooking in our family, generation after generation.”
A feast at the Angela Missoni’s home in Milan, or country home in Sardinia is both decadent and casual at once. A Missoni meal arouses the senses through a plethora of tastes, pleasing smells and vibrant colors — and if you’re lucky, all four generations of the Missoni clan will be there bantering. Until then, try making the Gnocchi Verdi, made with fresh spinach and ricotta, at home.
Gnocchi Verdi (Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi)
Serves 6 (makes about 60 gnocchi)
For the gnocchi:
17½ oz fresh spinach
3 lb ricotta
3 large egg yolks
4 oz type 00 flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
For the sage-infused butter:
1 stick unsalted butter
6 leaves fresh sage
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
Make the gnocchi:
1: Wash the spinach thoroughly.
2: Bring a large pot of water over high heat to a boil. Add the spinach and cook for about 2 minutes, or until tender; drain the spinach into a colander.
3: Using your hands, shape the spinach into a ball, pressing firmly to drain well. Place the spinach in a large cloth and twist it tightly over the sink, removing all excess water.
4: In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, chop the spinach until it achieves a superfine consistency. Add the ricotta, the egg yolks, the 4 ounces of the flour, and the nutmeg; season with sea salt and white pepper. Pulse until well combined.
5: Dust some of the flour over a clean work surface, a baking sheet, and your hands. Shape the spinach-ricotta mixture into 1–1½-inch balls. Dust them with flour and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
6: Bring a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat to a boil. Add the gnocchi to the pot in batches to avoid overcrowding. Allow each batch to cook for 2–3 minutes, or until they float to the surface. Remove each batch from the pot using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain.
7: Make the sage-infused butter: In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the sage leaves and fry for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
8: To serve, place 5–6 gnocchi in six shallow serving dishes (there will be plenty left for second helpings). Sprinkle the gnocchi with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and drizzle them with the hot sage-infused butter to melt the cheese. Serve hot.