Gnudi…as in nudie…rhymes with cutie…it’s your duty…(? ha) Yeah, these guys may not be so pretty to look at naked but they sure are good. Creamy, cheesy sorta dumpling-like, yet not quite dumplings, these little meatless-balls are like ravioli without the pasta wrapper. Hence, they are in the nude. (bada boom!)
You can dress them up all sorts of ways but my very favorite way to clothe a gnudi is with a homemade marinara sauce (this is perfect). It’s bright acidic freshness is the perfect foil to the rich denseness that is a gnudi, simple and delicious. Keep the vegetarians full and happy with this recipe as is, or add some ground beef or sausage to the sauce and appease the carnivores.
It starts out simple enough with some pretty basic ingredients:
Eggs, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, a little flour, salt and pepper, nutmeg and some spinach. Oh…. that spinach. Use a box of frozen chopped spinach that has been thawed and dried out as best as you possibly can. Just lay it out on a kitchen towel, roll it up and WRING it out…. maybe do it a second time…that oughtta do the trick. The objective here is to get out as much of the water as possible.
Mix this all up gently and you’ll have a thick, very sticky “dough”. Now get yourself a tablespoon, oh yeah, and go wash your hands, again…..because you are about to get all up to your elbows in this and it’s pretty fun.
Onto a large baking sheet sprinkle a decent amount of flour so that you have a nice layer. Scoop up a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta dough and plop it onto the sheet. Keep scooping and plopping until you have about 20 – 25 dumpling balls. If you don’t get this many don’t worry, you just made ’em sort of big! And that’s fine. We have no rules! Roll the balls around in the flour until they are all coated. At this point, go ahead and put them in the fridge while you get your other shiz together. In fact, you can store these bad boys overnight (covered) if you want to do this part ahead of time.
But I am never quite that efficient. Sadly.
Bring a big pot of water up to a boil and then take it down to medium low. Add eight or nine dumpling to the water, where they will immediately sink to the bottom. Let them cook gently (the water should NOT be boiling) for 5-6 minutes. What will happen is that they will rise to the top! Hey! Cool. Scoop them out and place them in a baking dish and keep them in a warm oven as you continue cooking the remainder of your gnudi.
Plop em in a few at a time, give them 5-6 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon. Sorta fun, right?
Make sure they are nice and dry before you get ’em saucy.
Proof that beauty is more than skin deep!
- 1 (10-oz) package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed very dry
- 1/3 cup of flour (plus extra for coating)
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- Marinara sauce
- Combine 1/3 cup of flour, spinach, ricotta, egg yolks, the whole egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg and shredded parmesan cheese in a medium bowl. (Basically everything but the marinara!) Stir until just combined
- Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of flour on a baking sheet. Drop the ricotta mixture by tablespoonfuls onto the floured pan to make about 24 gnudi. Roll the dumplings gently around in the flour to coat and form balls. (at this point these can be covered and stored overnight in the refrigerator)
- Place marinara in a large saucepan to heat
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Add up to nine gnudi to water; cook 5-6 minutes. (gnudi should float to the top)
- Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining dumplings.
- Serve with marinara*
- * Pesto would be great too!