Sunday, June 27, 2010

Spinach and ricotta gnudi with tomato-butter sauce

Gnudi is basically ravioli without its knickers on. It means ‘nude’ in Italian, and refers to the ravioli filling without the pasta — you could also think of it as ricotta gnocchi.

Spinach gnudi and buttery tomato sauce had always been favourites of mine, but I only thought to combine them a few months ago. I wish it hadn’t taken me that long, because this is one sexy dish: silky, cloud-like ricotta pillows flecked with spinach, smothered in a velvety sauce.

The butter gives a subtle richness, and I find cooking the onion halves in the sauce and then removing them adds a savoury sweetness without imparting a detectable onion flavour (I eat the cooked onions on their own with a little salt, but if you’re normal you should probably just throw them in the bin, or your compost heap).

I enjoy this dish with just a few slices of crusty bread on the side, but you can serve it as a starter on its own, or over some cooked penne as a main.

Spinach gnudi with tomato-butter sauce
Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a starter

For the tomato-butter sauce:
1 small onion, halved
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp olive oil
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
100g butter

For the gnudi:
1 cup flour
60g spinach
1 egg
300g ricotta
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

1. In a small saucepan, gently fry the onion halves and garlic in the olive oil until the garlic is fragrant (don’t let it brown).
2. Add the tomatoes and simmer, covered, for about an hour.
3. In the mean time, make the gnudi: In a saucepan, fry the spinach until just-wilted and allow to cool.  Squeeze out any excess moisture and chop finely.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, spinach, egg, ricotta and Parmesan. Mix vigorously until well combined.
5. Dollop a spoonful of the mixture onto a floured surface and, using your (also floured) hands, roll into a cylindrical shape about an inch in diameter. Cut into 2cm or 3cm pieces and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and plop in about a third of the gnudi (you don’t want them to be too crowded or they may stick together – also, too may will bring down the temperature of the water). Let them cook for an extra minute after they’ve risen to the surface (about 3-4 minutes in total), then remove with a slotted spoon, set aside and keep warm. Drizzle with a little olive oil to prevent them sticking together. Repeat with the remaining gnudi.
7. While the last batch of gnudi is cooking, remove the onions from the tomato sauce and add the butter, stirring until it is incorporated.
8. Divide the gnudi between bowls and spoon over the tomato-butter sauce. Top generously with freshly grated Parmesan and serve.


  1. Scrumptious! I see we share a compelling love of onions too...

  2. I love this dish! It tastes so good. Your Gnudi look scrumptious!



  3. This has made my tummy rumble.. It's not even HALF close enough to lunch time for me! What a delight, I wish this was in my future!

  4. Ravioli without its knickers - ha!! :-)

    Looks gorgeous and well worth the fiddle of making your own.

  5. MMMMMM,..I would totally enjoy & savour this tasty plate of fine food!

    Looks pretty fab!

  6. What a delightful meal Robyn, I never made it, perhaps one day :)

  7. wow looks amazing and adore the way you deserve this yum

  8. Looks amazing! Really nice dish!

  9. I wold be so happy with a plate of these right now. They look heavenly!

  10. This is a simply lovely entree. I've never made anything like it, but plan to remedy that very soon. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  11. I love, LOVE, the first line of this post. It made me laugh. 'Knickers' is a great, old-fashioned word, isn't it? Congratulations on this post, your pix, and your clear, succinct recipe. Visiting your blog is always a pleasure for me. x

  12. oh my, that looks absolutely delicious!

  13. That's it! I have to make some gnudi...I'm seeing it all over the place and it is sooooo delicious looking. Yours looks beyond fabulous!

  14. I've not heard of this until now. It is indeed sexy! I'd love to give it a try! :)

  15. That looks yum Robyn!
    Have never had gnudi before.....after seeing ur post I look forward to having it soon!

  16. "Gnudi is basically ravioli without its knickers on." Now, that is an engaging opening line!

  17. Interesting recipe and lovely clicks. Nice to be here. Best wishes.

  18. Yay yay yay!!! Been craving pasta all weekend and haven't found a recipe that satisfies it... until now! Thank you :-)