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Spinach and Basil Gnudi

Spinach and Basil Gnudi

Yield: 6 servings 1x
Prep: 30 minutesCook: 30 minutesTotal: 1 hour


Ricotta balls

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 ounces baby spinach (about 2 1/2 cups packed)

2 ounces fresh basil (about 1 cup packed)

1 pound whole milk ricotta cheese

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Few grinds fresh nutmeg (about 1/8th teaspoon)

1 cup semolina flour (This is a coarse grain made from wheat. We used Bob’s Red Mill)

Basil Pomodoro sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup yellow onion, finely minced

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely minced

1 28ounce can pureed tomatoes (we use Cento or Pantene kitchen-ready, or you can puree canned whole tomatoes)

1/4 cup packed fresh basil, coarsely cut

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and olive oil for water

Additional Parmesan cheese, for serving

Grilled Italian bread slices, optional


If serving with the grilled bread, you can do this ahead of time to get it out of the way. Read last step.

In a medium saute pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the spinach and basil for five minutes until wilted and the mixture starts to get watery. Remove from heat and place in a sieve over a bowl to drain. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out all liquid. You should end up with 1/3 cup of the spinach/basil mixture after squeezing out the water.

Discard the water and chop the spinach/basil mixture fine (rice size). Set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the ricotta cheese (no need to drain) along with the chopped spinach/basil, Parmesan cheese, all-purpose flour, whole egg, egg yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

Pour the semolina flour into a wide bowl or pie plate and line a small sheet tray with parchment paper.

Use a number 40 scoop and begin scooping slightly heaping scoops of the mixture into the semolina and then onto the parchment lined pan. You should get 24 balls or about 1 ¼ ounces each. As you drop each one in the semolina, roll and form into a ball with your fingers. The mixture is soft so be gentle as you roll. (Add more semolina if you need it, but one cup is about enough to coat 24 balls)

Line them up on the parchment covered sheet tray and refrigerate while you make the sauce. You will roll again before cooking so don’t worry if they are not perfect.

In a medium pot, over medium heat, saute the garlic and onion in the olive oil for about five minutes until soft. Add the canned pureed tomatoes along with the basil, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover with a splatter screen and cook ten minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Keep warm for serving or reheat when ready.

Bring a half full medium pot of water to a boil and add a teaspoon of kosher salt and a quarter cup of olive oil. Keep the water at a low to medium rolling boil.

Remove the Gnudi from the refrigerator and gently form each one into a nice round shape.

Cook in three batches by gently dropping eight balls into the gently boiling/simmering water and cook until they float, about 4-5 minutes. The longer they are in the water, the firmer they become in the center. To keep the outside cooked and firm but the inside soft and creamy, do not cook for longer than five minutes.

Gently remove with spider or strainer to a platter, or keep warm in a low oven between batches.

Use the strainer or skimmer to skim the water of particles between the three batches. The water will look cloudy but that is OK.

Once you have cooked all 24, serve by lining the serving platter with sauce, lining up the cooked ricotta balls and adding more sauce over the top. Sprinkle on additional grated Parmesan as you serve.

Serve four per serving for a total of six servings with the remaining sauce and Parmesan on the side.

If serving with the grilled Italian bread, slice on the bias and brush both sides with olive oil. Then cook on a ribbed pan over medium high heat with a plate or pan over the top to press them down to get rib marks, about 3-5 minutes. This can be done in advance.

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© Author: A Family Feast
Cuisine: Italian Method: simmer