This delicious recipe for gnudi are tasty ricotta cheese dumplings loaded up with spinach and parmesan cheese and are served with Pomodoro sauce.
If you’re a big dumpling fan, then these are definitely for you. They’re absolutely delicious, easy to make, and very similar to the ones I use in my chicken dumpling soup that I make a few times a year.
Gnudi are a tasty Tuscan, Italian favorite consisting of ricotta dough balls that got its name from the English word “nudi,” or naked. Often times called naked ravioli, gnudi is essentially the stuffing that goes into the ravioli.
These are incredibly easy to prepare and cook in only minutes making them a great weeknight meal or even an appetizer. These go a long way and will fill you up quickly.
What’s the Difference Between Gnocchi and Gnudi?
While the texture and cooking method is the same, gnocchi is quite a bit different than gnudi. The biggest contrast between the two is in the ingredients.
- Gnocchi: potatoes, flour, and eggs
- Gnudi: ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, and flour
Classically these are made with spinach and are known as Spinaci di Gnudi. Occasionally you will see them without spinach and will be called ricotta gnocchi or a ricotta dumpling. While most recipes call for frozen spinach, I find it better and fresher to cook baby spinach and use it in this recipe.
How to Make It
Follow these easy to follow instructions with step by step images for how to make gnudi:
Cook the spinach in boiling water, strain, and cool over a bowl in the refrigerator until chilled.
Drain as much liquid off of whole milk ricotta cheese as possible in a colander.
Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cooked and cooled spinach, and then finely mince it, and mix it together with the ricotta, parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper until combined.
Gradually add in the flour until the dough tightens up but is still a bit sticky.
Scoop out 3-4 tablespoons of the dough and roll them around in the flour to make a small ball.
Boil them in some salted water for 4 to 5 minutes or until they float to the top and serve.
How to Serve It
Traditionally these would be served with some browned sage butter, similar to gnocchi. I personally find them absolutely delicious when served alongside a very simple tomato Pomodoro sauce. It’s just like eating ravioli without all of the dough and it is so good.
Recipe Chef Notes + Tips
Make-Ahead: While they are best eaten immediately, you can make these up to 1 day ahead of time. Simply reheat right before serving.
How to Reheat: Place them in a pot of boiling salted water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until hot. You can also cook on a microwave-safe plate until hot.
How to Store: Cover and place in the refrigerator for 4 days. These will freeze excellently covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
You can absolutely swap out fresh baby spinach for cooked frozen spinach that has been thawed.
Make sure the water for boiling the gnudi is at a very low boil as it can cause them to break apart.
More Italian Recipes
Easy Italian Gnudi Recipe
- 1 pound fresh baby spinach
- 1 ½ pounds whole milk ricotta
- 1 ¼ cups grated parmesan cheese
- 6 large eggs
- 3 ½ cups 00 or all-purpose flour
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- ½ Pomodoro recipe
- Add the baby spinach to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until wilted.
- Run the spinach under cold water and chill in the strainer over a bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Next, add the ricotta cheese to a strainer in a bowl and drain off as much liquid from the cheese as possible, which takes about 10 minutes.
- Remove the baby spinach from the refrigerator and finely mince it and add to a large bowl along with the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, salt, and pepper until completely combined.
- Add in the flour and mix to form a sticky dough. You may need to add in a bit more or use a bit less as it is more about feel than anything.
- Scoop out about 3-4 tablespoons and roll them around in a small bowl of flour to coat and then roll them in your hand to form a ball. Repeat until all the dough has been rolled and set aside.
- Cooking in batches add them to a large pot of boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes or until they float to the top.
- Serve them with hot Pomodoro sauce with optional garnishes of grated parmesan cheese and basil leaves.
- Make-Ahead: While they are best eaten immediately, you can make these up to 1 day ahead of time. Simply reheat right before serving.
- How to Reheat: Place them in a pot of boiling salted water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until hot. You can also cook on a microwave-safe plate until hot.
- How to Store: Cover and place in the refrigerator for 4 days. These will freeze excellently covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
- You can absolutely swap out fresh baby spinach for cooked frozen spinach that has been thawed.
- Make sure the water for boiling the gnudi is at a very low boil as it can cause them to break apart.