Sunday Pasta®: Gnudi di Spinaci e Ricotta (Spinach)

Sunday Pasta Gnudi di Spinaci e Ricotta 640

Let’s discuss weighty matters. Nah, forget it. Let’s just get naked. Or, we could do both. That is, with gnocchi and gnudi.

Huh? What? Who? How? Why? Aaah, the answer to this riddle lies in the question: “How much does a pound of gnocchi weigh?” I don’t mean to be coy, Roy, but why does 16 ounces of gnocchi usually seem to weigh 32 ounces during digestion. Maybe it’s because a pound of potato and flour make an expanding mush in your belly.  Or maybe it’s because industrially-made gnocchi are essentially bricks.  But gnocchi doesn’t have to be this way, because real, Italian,  handmade gnocchi  are light and fluffy (and are usually never found in the freezer section or at most Italian-American restaurants).

Although “gnocchi” is a general term for “dumplings” in Italian, it usually refers to the most popular type, the kind made with a base of potato.  “Gnudi” are also dumplings, and so fall under the gnocchi umbrella, but are made without the potato. Typical of Tuscany, gnudi are also sometimes called “naked ravioli,” since they are essentially the filling without the pasta cover.  They’re also called naked, as some say, because the word gnudi sounds like  “nudi,” or naked in Italian (although I find this reason to be a stretch).

In summary, bad gnocchi are heavy and dense, but good gnocchi are light and fluffy, and gnudi are like their beautiful and svelte Italian cousin.  Weighty or nudi, you decide.

Buon Appetito!

Ed Garrubbo

p.s. Check out our wine pairings to complement this dish.

Sunday Pasta: Gnudi di Spinaci e Ricotta (Spinach)
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4-6



1 pound fresh spinach
10 ounces ricotta
1/2 cup Parmigiano, grated
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
6-8 sage leaves


In a large skillet, saute spinach until soft. Remove from heat, and place in a strainer. Press to remove excess liquid. Place spinach in a large bowl, and mix in the ricotta, eggs and Parmigiano. Then mix in the flour, nutmeg and salt. Mix together thoroughly.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cover a cutting board (or counter top) with some flour. With two teaspoons, scoop the spinach mixture into small balls and roll in the flour. When finished, place several at a time into the boiling water and cook for a 2-3 minutes. When they begin to float, remove with a slotted spoon, and place in a serving dish.

Melt the butter in a skillet with the sage. Pour over the gnudi and serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.

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