Gnudi ~ Ricotta e Spinaci

Gnudi, meaning ‘nude’ are a traditional Tuscan dumpling made with Spinach and Ricotta, essentially a lighter, cloud-like version of Gnocchi. These soft little pillows are commonly served with a simple butter and sage sauce, usually as a ‘primo piatto(pasta course). They are very easy to make and take little time to prepare, which is very appealing if you want a quicker alternative to making the traditional potato gnocchi. They even get the thumbs up in flavour and texture from my Nonna, who makes the best gnocchi I’ve ever eaten in my life!

 

Note: The quality of the ricotta is very important. You want to use fresh ricotta that is nice and firm and well-drained. Parmigiano Reggiano is our choice of cheese, but you could also use Pecorino instead. This recipe calls for English Spinach, the variety with long green leaves, usually sold in bunches (not to be confused with baby spinach). Note that the water in the pot needs to be brought to a soft boil. Because of the delicate nature of these dumplings they are best cooked in simmering water, not a rapid boil.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

  • 2 bunches of English Spinach, stalks removed

  • 1 cup Ricotta

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten

  • 3/4 cup plain flour (plus extra for dusting, coating)

  • Freshly grated Nutmeg (to your taste)

  • Salt and Pepper, for seasoning

  • 50g Butter

  • 10-12 Sage Leaves

Method

  1. Wash the spinach (stalks removed) and with just the water clinging to it, cook it in a large pan over low heat until wilted. Remove from pan and let it cool and drain well, squeezing out as much liquid as possible, then chop finely.

  2. Tip the cooked, chopped spinach into a large bowl and stir in the ricotta, combining the two well, then mix in the parmigiano reggiano, eggs and flour. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. The mixture should be thick and slightly sticky.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a soft boil and line a baking sheet/tray with baking paper, lightly dusted with flour.

  4. Using your hands, roll spoonfuls of the mixture into medium rounded/oval dumplings and lightly dust with flour then gently place on floured baking tray.

  5. Once the water is at a soft boil/simmering, carefully place the gnudi into the water and cook in batches for roughly 2-3 minutes or until they float to the surface. Then remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel then transfer to a warm serving bowl.

  6. To prepare the sauce, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat then add the sage leaves, browning the butter and letting the sage leaves crisp up a little then pour the sauce over the gnudi and serve immediately with a little grated parmigiano reggiano.