Menu Makers with Chef Daniel Asher

BY DiningOut Staff


Menu Makers with Chef Daniel Asher

Dek goes here…

When it comes to our favorite meals and the dishes that blow us away, it all comes down to beautiful ingredients, properly assembled, according to Chef Daniel Asher.

Chef Daniel is the culinary leader behind Boulder’s River and Woods restaurant, which prides itself on delicious Colorado comfort food made with ingredients sourced from local farmers and ranchers. One of their most renowned dishes is John’s Gnocchi Verde, which is a spinach and ricotta based gnocchi, coated in a creamy lemon sauce – a recipe passed on from another Boulder restaurateur, Chef John Bizarro.

Chef Daniel shared the recipe behind this well-loved dish so that people could make it from the comfort of their homes. It’s a dish rich with depth, flavor and vibrancy; complex in flavor but simple to execute.

“When you break it down and pull out all of the elements, it’s actually quite simple,” he explained.

Chef Daniel Asher

True to his word, the ingredient list isn’t long and all of the elements can be found locally – or even homemade, like the ricotta. While you can opt for ricotta from your local store, Chef Daniel also demonstrates the ease with which you can make ricotta right at home.

“People are intimidated about making cheese at home, but ricotta is one of the simplest cheeses to make,” he notes.

The inspiration behind the menu is locally sourced, too. Chef Daniel shared that many of River and Woods’ dishes are created from recipes provided by the very community the restaurant serves. Guests share personal recipes with the culinary team that tell a story from their family history or communicate something of significance to them.

It ties into the larger ethos of the River and Woods: being truly integrated with the local community.

“We can use those ingredients grown with love and assemble them where people can connect to it and feel like a lot of love went into that experience,” says Chef Daniel.

Making John’s Gnocchi Verde at home is a delicious way to bring the comfort of River and Woods into your own kitchen. This dish is rich with depth, flavor and vibrancy; complex in flavor but simple to execute. Try whipping up John’s Gnocchi Verde at home or stop by River and Woods to experience their full menu.

John’s Gnocchi Verde Recipe


  • Two Quarts whole milk
  • ⅓ Cup White Vinegar
  • ¾ Pound of spinach
  • 1 Pound of Ricotta or Curds
  • ¼ Cup of Parmesan
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • Pinch of Nutmeg powdered
  • Two large brown eggs 
  • ¼ Cup flour
  • ⅓ Olive oil
  • 3 Ounces of heavy cream
  • 1 Lemon 
  • 2 tbsp. of unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp of minced parsley


Making Ricotta

  • Bring Milk to 200 degrees Fahrenheit over medium to high heat
  • Pour in white vinegar and stir continuously
  • Look for the separation of the curds and whey
  • Strain out curds  and set aside

Making John’s Gnocchi Verde

  • Combine cooked spinach, ricotta, parmesan, sea salt, pinch of nutmeg powder, crack two brown eggs,
  • Mix the ingredients together, then slowly add flour and continue to mix.
  • Let dough rest for no less than 1 hour, and even better if you leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Use a small portion scoop to make gnocchi balls, roll gnocchi balls in your flour covered hands.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, heavily salted.
  • Boil Gnocchi 
  • Gnocchi will float to the top of the water when ready 
  • Remove gnocchi from boiling water and let rest in an ice bath
  • Heat a large frying pan on medium heat and pour ⅓ cup of olive oil into pan
  • Once oil in heated add gnocchi to pan
  • Sear and caramelize the gnocchi
  • Add 3 ounces of heavy cream to pan 
  • Once cream begins to boil add squeezed 1 lemon into pan
  • Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Lightly stir until sauce thickens
  • Plate gnocchi first
  • Add desired amount of sauce over dish
  • Add sprinkle of Parmesan
  • Add grated lemon rind


DiningOut Staff

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