Did it ever occur to you to see a picture or read a recipe of a dish and longing to make it but never finding the right time, or the right conjunction of stars, to get it done? Gnudi has been just like that to me. I had them in mind for one maybe even two years and, for some reason, I have been hesitant to break the ice with such a simple, and yet totally delectable, Italian specialty.
One can imagine how overjoyed I am now for having finally made my first gnudi. They are super easy and quick to make (preparation takes no more than 15 minutes including cooking). And are so delicious with a simple basil tomato sauce that I had to tell myself “slow down!”. A perfect dish to pamper yourself and your guests with.
A few more notes: Gnudi have become popular only recently after having been included in the menu of a fancy NY restaurant. They are shaped like gnocchi but are made of an equal proportion of ricotta cheese and fresh spinach like ravioli. That’s why they are called “ravioli nudi”, naked ravioli. There are different version of gnudi. In some areas of Central Italy flour is combined to the dough to help keeping the gnocchi-like rounds together. I prefer though the Tuscan version of this dish, which uses flour only to coat the gnudi. If rice flour rather than wheat flour is used for coating, here you go, you have a 100% gluten-free home-made gnocchi. And if you, like me, are trying to keep a balance between carbs and proteins in your diet, you may like to know that this vegetarian dish is also very low in carbs. (SCROLL DOWN FOR THE RECIPE)
GLUTEN-FREE GNUDI TOSCANI
Preparation Time: less than 15 minutes
250 g (ca 9 oz) ricotta (drained)
250 g (ca 9 oz) fresh spinach (cooked, drained and chopped)
1 small egg (or 1 egg white of a larger egg)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 or 2 tablespoon of rice flour (optional, to add to the batter if it looks too soft)
rice flour for coating
Instructions: The key to perfect and quick to make gnudi is to prepare ahead the ricotta and the spinach. The ricotta can be placed in a colander and covered in the fridge to drain and the spinach can be sauteed and squeezed ahead as well.
Once you have all the ingredients ready, just combine all together, adding rice flour if you find the batter too soft, and then spoon little amounts of batter on a rice floured surface. You can use a teaspoon to do this. While you bring the cooking water to a boil, roll the batter spoonfuls into the flour and then drop into the boiling water. When the gnudi emerge on the surface of the water, boil a further 1 minute and then gently drain with a skimmer. Combine with hot tomato sauce and serve.
CONSIDERATIONS: Easy, home-made, scrumptious, healthy… it does not really get much better than this.
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