Gnudi – the light, carefree cousin of gnocchi. This recipe for Basil, spinach and ricotta gnudi is light is body, rich in taste and with texture that dissolves in your mouth. This dish is great as a light starter or makes for a nice summery main served with crusty bread and a tomato salad.
Usually gnudi recipes call for egg however this egg free version require less flour to bind the ingredients together which results in fluffy pockets of herby cheesy deliciousness that any Italian Nonna would be proud of.
Basil, spinach and ricotta gnudi
- 2 large bunches of basil, leaves picked
- 1kg spinach leaves
- 300g fresh ricotta
- 150g grated parmesan (125g grated, the rest reserved to shave to serve)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup plain flour (amount may vary slightly)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
- salt to taste
- olive oil, to serve
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boiling and blanched the leaves for 10 second (or until wilted), remove from water and allow to cool. Once cooled, squeeze all the excess water out of the basil leaves. The most efficient way to do this is to place the leaves in a tea-towel, then roll and twist each end in opposite directions. Repeat this blanching and drying method with the spinach.
In a food processor combine 1/3 of the ricotta with the blanched spinach leaves and set aside. Repeat this process with the spinach leaves and remaining ricotta.
In a large bowl, combine both ricottas, parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, 1/2 cup of flour, nutmeg and grated parmesan and mix until just combined. Roll the mixture into walnut sized balls ready for cooking. If the mixture feels a bit too wet (the water levels will depend on how much water you managed to squeeze out of the basil & spinach post blanching) add a little more flour. Be careful not to add too much flour or over work the mixture as the flour will develop gluten and the gnudi will become dense and doughy.
Bring a big pot of salted water to the boil, gently place gnudi in the water (cook in batches) and simmer until the gnudi float to the top, remove with a slotted spoon.
Serve with shaved parmesan cheese and a drizzle of good olive oil.