Do you know Gnudi? Recently, I became aware of this Tuscan dish, via Bobby & Giada in Italy on Discovery+TV. Giada prepared this simple dish while they were staying in Tuscany. I had actually never heard of it, but knew as soon as I saw it, I would have to try it in my own kitchen (unfortunately, not located in Tuscany!). I have a revolving file of “recipes to make”, and as soon as found this recipe, I stashed it the file.
I love pasta and Italian food, and I really love ravioli. The filling is were all the flavor is, and you have to eat quite a few raviolis to harness all that scrumptious flavor. With gnudi, there is no pasta (carbs), just the tasty, cheesy filling.
Luscious and light dumpling pillows of ricotta and spinach are shaped into balls, slightly flattened, and lightly coated in flour. To cook, the dumplings take a quick dip into gently boiling water for a quick 3-4 minute swim, until they float. Serve it on a bed of marinara or your favorite red sauce, and get ready to love gnudi.
In Italian, nudi means naked or nude, thus “naked ravioli”. Made without spinach, some refer to them as ricotta gnocchi. Some other versions are gnudi in a sage brown butter sauce, or a mushroom sauce. I look forward to trying these variations as well. I’m a GNUDI fan for LIFE!
Spinach Ricotta GnudiCourse: Main Dish, PastaCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 pound frozen spinach, thawed & squeezed dry*
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus some for garnish
2 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Zest of 1 medium lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for coating
1 jar store bought marinara sauce, or your favorite red sauce, heated
- Bring a large pot of water to a simmering boil; add salt once boiling – several large pinches.**
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, spinach, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and egg yolks. Stir in nutmeg, lenon zest, salt, pepper, and 5 Tablespoons of the flour. Mix well.
- Gently form mixture in to small, flattened balls. (Hint: I used a small cookie scoop to make them even.)
- In a shallow pan or plate, add the 1 cup of flour. Dredge both sides of the gnudi in the flour; shake to remove excess flour.
- Gently lower the gnudi in the light boiling water with a slotted spoon or spider (you don’t want a hard or rapid boil, as that can break apart the gnudi dumplings). Make sure to not overcrowd the pan. When done, they will float to the top, about 3-5 minutes (based on size). Continue in batches until done. (You may want to turn on a warm over, 200-degrees, and keep the cooked gnudi on a sheet pan in the oven until ready to serve).
- Place warm sauce on a serving platter or individual plate, place the gnudi on top, and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- *The spinach must be really, really dry. Once defrosted, put it in a kitchen towel, wrap it up, and wring all the water out of it. As much as you can – and when you think you’ve got it all, give it another twist for good measure! This will prevent your dumplings from being to loose or watery.
- **HINT: Always add salt to water, after it has come to a boil. And add more than you think you need. When cooking these dumplings or pasta, it is a change to season it. I promise it will make it taste better. How much salt? A chef told me long ago, your water should taste like the sea! (think about when you get ocean water in your mouth at the beach…so it should taste of salt! I grab several large pinches of kosher salt, or 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt should do the trick!
- This recipe uses few ingredients. And when dishes rely on only a few things, they should be the best in flavor – freshly ground black pepper, freshly ground nutmeg, freshly grated Parmesan. The flavor is so much more pronounced when spices and cheeses are freshly ground or grated.