A while ago I saw this interesting recipe for something called gnudi. It appeared to be a lot like gnocchi but with spinach built in. I kept putting off making it and finally, out of curiosity more than anything I made some this past Saturday. And no, I am not sure how to pronounce it. I think the g is silent so it sounds like “nudi” when I say the word.
I found a similar recipe on Food Network, made with wheat flour, but what was really interesting were the comments. A lot of whining about how they fall apart while cooking and words as to how bland they are. Many comments later I was ready to make them with a few modifications. Despite all the negative comments this recipe got 3.5 stars so I knew it had something going for it.
I made sure to get as much liquid out of the spinach as humanly possible. I even pressed the spinach in a strainer using a paper towel to force out as much liquid as could be expelled. Then I was careful to chill the dough well. And I remembered, for the most part, to turn down the stove temperature once I put the gnudi in.
My best friend’s mom made these but she called them “maflda” according to Bernie. Unfortunately Sparky has been gone for many years and I cannot confirm that name. I do know they remind me of her fabulous authentic Italian home cooking. They have a delicate ricotta and Parmesan cheese flavor and are pillow like bundles of yummy Italian flavor. I declined to serve them with marinara as both recipes I found suggested. I like them with a touch of butter and Bernie says that is how her mom served them. I think the marinara sauce would cover up their delicate and subtle symphony of flavors. The nutmeg in them has an affinity with spinach and really makes the flavor perfect, don’t leave it out.
GF Gnudi Dumplings
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese (if it seems watery drain it for a while) I didn’t see the need but some in the comments on line suggested draining.
1 pound frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (best quality you can afford)
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg [I used nutmeg from a jar I had recently opened and it was really fresh smelling and worked great.]
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I didn’t measure; just ground a bunch up!)
6 tablespoons all-purpose gf flour, plus 1 cup for coating
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. I used one that was wide but not that deep for ease of plopping in the dumplings.
In a large bowl, mix ricotta, spinach, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and yolks. Stir in nutmeg, salt, pepper, and flour. Cover with plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour.
Use two spoons to form mixture in to small, slightly flattened balls about an inch to 1 ½ inches in diameter. I used my favorite gf flour which is mostly brown rice flour with some potato starch and tapioca flour; see previous posts for a recipe. Use it in my pie dough and brownie recipe.
Put the cup of flour in a low flat bottomed bowl or on a plate. Roll the formed gnudi in the gf flour to coat, tapping off the excess. Slide formed gnudi into the boiling water. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan; I like to work in batches of 12. Remove the cooked gnudi using a slotted spoon after they float to the top and have cooked for about 4 minutes.
Place them in a serving platter and dot with small bits of fresh butter.
I served them as a starch along with some chicken kebabs but I am guessing they could go with most any protein or even standing alone as the entrée.
I served some to my family on Sunday as an appetizer and everyone but the two year old adored them. He ate most of his but wasn’t quite as thrilled as the adults were! i have some in that Tupperware container you see in the photograph. I will be having them for supper tonight!
They aren’t that difficult to make; easy to form with a spoon. Just follow the recipe pretty closely and you will be thrilled with the end results. Manja, manja!