You might be surprised to see actress Debi Mazar — the sassy, sharp-tongued publicist on HBO’s “Entourage” — starring on a new show on the Cooking Channel.
But the actress and her Tuscan-born husband, Gabriele Corcos, are no strangers to the kitchen. For the past four years, they’ve worked on their popular online cooking series “Under the Tuscan Gun,” dedicated to fresh, authentic Tuscan cooking. (“The gun is a reference to my mother-in-law saying, ‘Feed my son, and feed my grandchildren,’” says Mazar, laughing.)
Viewers get more of the stars’ wit and family stories on their new show, “Extra Virgin,” which premiered last week. Shot in Italy and their home in Los Angeles, Mazar and Corcos let us in to their everyday lives (he’s building a pizza oven in their backyard; she’s using avocados as part of her beauty regime), their love for each other (“I [just want] to stay with her forever,” says Corcos adorably) and the gorgeous meals they create.
“We are hoping to share culture and hope to inspire people to get into their kitchen and cook,” says Mazar. “Cooking at home is a lot of fun, it’s sexy — and in the long run, it’s better for you.” Words we’re sure Mama Corcos approves of.
Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi
Recipe courtesy Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar
Yield: Six servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes
Ease of preparation: Intermediate
2 pounds fresh spinach (about 3 bunches)
1 (16-ounce) container ricotta cheese
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls fresh sage
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
3. Cut the stems off the spinach, and soak the leaves in the sink. Wash them thoroughly.
4. Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook one minute. Remove spinach from the water and plunge in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
5. Drain the spinach very well; using a clean tea towel, squeeze out the extra water. Chop the leaves very fine.
6. Put the cooked spinach in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, 3 tablespoons Parmesan and egg yolks, then season with a few pinches of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Mix well, and make sure that the ricotta crumbles into fine pieces and mixes properly with the spinach. Shape the mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.
7. Lightly butter a 13-by-9 casserole dish, lay all the gnocchi in it and dress it with a few very thin slices butter and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Cook the gnocchi at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, and then use the broiler for the last five minutes to crisp and brown the tops of the spinach balls.
8. In a medium skillet, melt the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of butter, and sautee the sage until it starts to brown. Serve the gnocchi on a warm plate and dress with the sage-butter sauce. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan.