Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Gnudi – Tuscan Ricotta & Spinach Gnocchi

Gnudi, a poor man’s dish from the Tuscan culinary tradition, it’s a kind of very soft gnocchi made with ricotta and spinach, although they are actually the stuffing of ravioli but without the pasta, which is why they are called Gnudi, which in Tuscan means naked, referring to the filling without pasta covering. You can also use chard and wild herbs as a filling. Once ready, they are sautéed in a pan with melted butter and sage or even tomato sauce.


Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 30 mins | Cooking time: 15 mins

  • Spinach, fresh: 350 g
  • Sheep’s ricotta: 200 g
  • Butter, unsalted: 50 g
  • Parmigiano, grated: 50 g
  • Plain flour: 30-40 g
  • Garlic: 1 clove
  • Egg: 1
  • Sage, fresh: to taste
  • Nutmeg: ½ tsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): to taste
  • Salt and pepper: to taste

Method

Fresh spinach gives the best results, however you can also use the frozen ones. Just make sure to defrost it completely before you start to cook.

Put raw spinach directly in a pan along with some Evoo oil and garlic, season to taste. Set aside.

Tip: You can also blanch spinach for a few minutes in unsalted boiling water, remove it from the water with a skimmer and squeeze it well to get rid of as much water as possible. Then brown them in a pan along with some Evoo oil and the garlic as mentioned above. If you chose this method, do not throw away the water, set it aside so you’ll use it later.

Crush ricotta with a fork to make it creamier and break all the lumps. Add the spinach just seasoned, grated Parmigiano, egg, flour a little at a time, a pinch of nutmeg and a bit of salt. Mix thoroughly. Be careful not to put too much flour, the Gnudi dough should be slightly sticky and not too thick.

Shape ricotta and spinach mixture into balls-shape or oval-shape; coat them with a bit of flour to prevent them from sticking to each other or to your work surface.

Melt the butter in a pan and brown the sage leaves. Keep the butter warm without burning it.

Bring to boil a pot of water or bring to boil the water in which you cooked the spinach in which you have blanched them previously and in both cases add salt to it. Plunge gently the ricotta/spinach balls and let them cook until they float to the surface, then immediately remove them from the water with a skimmer and place them in the pan with the warm butter and sage.

Tip: Gnudi don’t have to be fried, only briefly and gently sautéed for a few seconds and mostly without stirring them, only turning the frying pan so to move the butter and you won’t risk breaking them.

A handful of Parmigiano or Pecorino and serve immediately right away.

Can you store them?

Gnudi should preferably be consumed freshly made.
However, once made and un-cooked, they can be kept in the fridge clingfilm covered for a maximum of 12 hours.
They can be frozen for about 1 month and then boiled still frozen, but once cooked, they have to be eaten within the same day.

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