12 March 2014

Ravioli Gnudi- A Spring Time Delight

Ravioli gnudi
The signs of spring are everywhere, in the lengthening of the day, the snow piles slowly but surely shrinking in spite of the best efforts of mother nature to keep them topped up. I have spoken before about how we only have to go two turns down our mountain road and we find a dramatic change in the advancement of spring. We're still up there in the snow zone, but we are on the teetering edge od full on winter and full on spring. It's an interesting place to live. The primula are starting to finally poke their heads up wherever the snow has begun to retreat in earnest. The market is full of spinach and dandelion greens and soon there will be all manner of various greens gathered and foraged to perk up the taste buds from our sturdy cabbage and potato winter fare. 
Springtime beginning to arrive in Val Chisone
I had elaborate plans to share a couple of pizza recipes, but have failed to get the recipes down on paper so I will share the next best thing that I have recently made. That would be the ravioli gnudi, or nude ravioli. A peculiar name for most of us, but what it is referring to is that the spinach ricotta mixture is oftentimes what you find in many a filled pasta and this time there is no pasta. There is flour used in the mix and then later rolled in the flour to help hold it all together, but there is no firm pasta covering. The emperor has no clothes! Ok not exactly, but I think you get the drift. 
Ravioli gnudi is the name given to them by the Tuscans, from whence I think they originated, or at least became most well known from. Up here in the north, we are fond of our gnocchi and so these are really just a variation on a gnocchi for us. What ever you want to call them, we just mainly call them delicious, and please don't call me late for dinner.

These really are easy enough, but my main tip would be to make sure that you have a dough ball that will stay together. My first attempt a few years ago almost made me give up on them as I was gingerly handling them as I wanted to make sure they would be tender and fluffy. Well, what I got was a pot full of spinach ricotta water. They disintegrated in the boiling process. I salvaged them best I could, but was sorely disappointed. Next time I sacrificed light and fluffy for sturdy and durable and eventually came upon a nice middle of the road, light and sturdy dough ball that didn't mind simmering and then being sloshed around in a pan with a bit of sage butter and a light coating of marinara sauce upon occasion. The spinach is plentiful right now, so it's a great time to give these a go and let me know what you think. I have a feeling they may be something you will enjoy again and again once you get the hang of them. 

Ravioli Gnudi
about 6 servings (depending if you serve more courses)


350 g (12 oz) fresh spinach, cooked in minimum of water
350g (12 oz or about 1 1/2 c) ricotta

4 T parmesan cheese, grated (or more if you like)
¼ tsp fresh ground nutmeg

3 eggs, medium, if large I would use 2 whole and 1 yolk

125 g (about 1 ¼ c) flour all purpose,
(divide into 5 T to add to the dough and the rest to roll the balls in

pinch or two salt after adding the Parmesan if needed


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil while you prepare the dumplings/gnocchi/ravioli.

Once you have cooked the spinach and allowed it too cool.
Squeeze very dry and chopped medium fine.
Mix the spinach well with the ricotta.
Add the parmesan and nutmeg and a pinch of salt
Add eggs and mix well.
Sprinkle the 5 Tb of flour in, mixing lightly. Add a bit more flour if it doesn;t seem to be holding together.
It will be a soft sticky mix.
Pour the flour into a flat pan
Flour your hands
Drop teaspoons of dough int the flour, roll around and then lightly make the balls coating so they hold together when you simmer them. I tried for thumbnail sized but they were a bit bigger than that.
You don't want them too large so they cook easily.

Once you have all the balls prepared drop them into, a couple at a time, the rolling boil. You may need to do two batches depending on the size of your pot. They will sink like gnocchi and the boil will stop. Gently stir them and bring them back toa boil, but lower the heat as soon they they start to boil, so they simmer gently and don't boil so hard that they fall apart. It should take about 5-6 minutes, depending on the size of the balls.

Once done I put them in a large pan with a little melted butter and fresh sage and gently shook the pan, to coat. Sprinkled parmesan on top and served them with a side of marinara sauce.
I made 2/3  of the batch as I was a fraud we would eat them all in one sitting. We did!

No comments:

Bookmark and Share