People from Tuscany are well known for being practical and doing things their way. Instead of mixing eggs and flour, roll the dough, make the filling, shape it, and seal it to make it into a ravioli, someone came up with the idea: why hide this beautiful filling of ricotta and spinach in a dough “pouch”? Let’s let it be “nude” … “bell’ignudo”! That’s how the gnudi were born. Gnudo, in the beautiful and so expressive Tuscan language, literally means “naked”: the ravioli filling became a hearty dumpling to be boiled directly in the water, then dressed with a delicate sauce of melted butter and sage. The gnudi, in their simplicity, are a dish of elegance and balance. Here’s the recipe step-by-step to make this traditional dish from Maremma!
Gnudi are gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese instead of potato, spinach and flour. The result is a lighter, "pillowy" dish, unlike the often denser gnocchi and as much as delicious served with a delicate sauce of melted butter and sage.
- for making about 26-30 Gnudi
- uncooked spinach - 1 lb (500 grams)
- fresh ricotta - 10/11 oz (300 grams)
- unbleached all-purpose flour - 1/2 cup (65 grams)
- freshly grated parmigiano - 1 1/2 cups (40 grams)
- 1 egg -
- fine salt, black pepper and nutmeg -
- salt for the water -
- to flour
- 1/2 cup unbleached flour -
- 6 Tbs salted butter -
- 1 sprig sage -
- for serving
- freshly grated parmigiano - 1/2 cup
- freshly ground black pepper -
cook spinach, drain and squeeze out all water, chop and pour into a large bowl
add ricotta, the grated parmigiano, pepper, salt, nutmeg, flour and egg.
Mix throughly . Using your palms start rolling a small amount of filling about 16-20 grams (about a Tbs) to make small balls slightly flattened on the top. Coat the gnudi with flour
and place them on a tray covered with wax or parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Put a pot of salted water (it has to taste like sea water) to boil. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, prepare butter and sage, and when water is ready and you're about to pour the gnudi into the boiling water, slowly melt the butter with the sage over lowest heat (17).
When the water gets to boil, add the gnudi, cook them for a few minutes (about 3 minutes) till they come to the surface; with a skimmer remove them delicately from the water, place them on a bowl,
cover with the melted butter, add some parmigiano, some black pepper and enjoy till still hot. Note: since they cook so quickly I usually make a portion at a time to avoid that the gnudi get cold.