Here's a recipe for how to make spinach gnudi and brown butter from scratch! What is gnudi? Gnudi are spinach and ricotta dumplings similar to spinach gnocchi but softer in texture, they are delicious and make for wonderful and inexpensive meals.
Gnudi are easy and quick to make, I like to make a batch for my family now and then, I serve them alternately with brown butter and sage or marinara, they’re filling and comforting.
Spinach gnudi are also called spinach gnocchi, they really come out with a similar texture than gnocchi, just a bit softer. Like gnocchi, they are cooked in a large amount of water for about 3-4 minutes and are ready as soon as they float to the surface.
Spinach gnudi are made of spinach of course, ricotta, parmesan, eggs and flour assembled together and briefly kneaded. In season, chard or even cress can be used instead of spinach.
Gnudi are generally shaped like small balls of about a little over an inch diameter, I used a small ice cream scoop to form mine, you can shape them between your well-floured hands. They can also be made in an oval shape using two table spoons, I made 28 gnudi out of this ingredient list, I find that it's enough for a filling meal for 4.
I always use frozen spinach, it is so handy and I can decide to make gnudi whenever I want.
♦ This recipe is well balanced and works well so I would recommend not to fiddle with it too much, at least the first time you make it as the worst thing that can happen is that the gnudi disintegrate once added to the boiling water and that would be a total disaster.
I cook the spinach just until thawed, drain and squeeze them to eliminate all their water, then I chop them rather finely with a knife.
Into a large bowl they go together with the ricotta, I combine them with a spatula to distribute well, then I add the egg and parmesan, some salt and nutmeg, combine, then I add the flour and again combine thoroughly.
At this stage, the gnudi dough may be soft and sticky, refrain from adding more flour, your gnudi would become too tough and heavy, anyway additional flour will be used during the next steps.
I flour generously my counter, turn the dough over and sprinkle some flour on top, pat it down to form a ball, turn it over once and put it back into the bowl.
I flour a baking sheet, form my gnudi with a small ice cream scoop and deposit them onto the baking sheet in one layer.
I fill a large pot with water, bring to boil, add a tbsp. of salt and drizzle some olive oil, add all the gnudi and stir them from time to time, as soon as they start to rise to the surface, about 2-3 minutes, I gather them with a slotted spoon and add them into the sauce, ready to enjoy.
You can make the spinach gnudi up to one day only in advance as the ricotta does not keep for long. Make the gnudi the day before, chill them in one layer on trays, sprinkled with flour on top and covered loosely with plastic wrap.
I don’t like to freeze any food made of ricotta, I tried and I did not like the way the ricotta turned, the flavor was not quite the same and the texture was kind of gummy. Ricotta is a fresh cheese and I like to use it freshest. This is also the reason why I never make large batches of gnudi.
Brown butter and sage sauce is a classic to pair with gnudi and there is nothing simpler and so flavorful to make, just cook a large chunk of butter, add a bunch of sage leaves and cook until the butter starts to brown. You may serve gnudi with any pasta sauce, you can also serve them as a main dish or as a starter.
1/2 pound (225 g.) spinach
1/2 pound (225 g.) ricotta
1/3 cup (50 g.) grated parmesan
1/2 cup (120 g.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
Butter Sage Sauce:
1/4 cup (50 g.) Butter
10 fresh sage leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Thaw the frozen spinach overnight or cook them just until completely thawed, drain and press to remove any water, chop rather finely with a knife
Into a large bowl, add the spinach and ricotta, combine with a spatula, add the parmesan, egg, nutmeg and salt, combine, add the flour and again combine thoroughly
On a generously floured counter, turn the dough over, sprinkle the top with flour, pat to form a ball, turn over once then return to the bowl
Prepare a baking sheet sprinkled with flour, with a small ice cream scoop, scoop balls of dough and place them all on the baking sheet in one layer. If you are making the gnudi in advance, sprinkle them with some flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use
Fill a large pot with water, bring to boil, add a tbsp. of salt and 2 tbsp. olive oil, add the gnudi and stir from time to time, as soon as they start to rise to the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes, gather them with a slotted spoon and add them to the brown butter sauce
Meanwhile make the sauce, into a large frying pan, melt the butter with the sage leaves, cook the butter until browned, remove the sage leaves, add the floating gnudi, season with salt and pepper to taste
Serve right away
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