Recipes of the tradition: Gnudi
Traditional Tuscan dishes never disappoint, always substantial, simple but tasty. They do not allow themselves to be corrupted by peculiar and refined ingredients, by embellishments and superfluous additions, they go straight to the point and above all to the taste!
Gnudi are one of the many dishes of our territory with this characteristic. They are part of the gnocchi family, which in all probability is the oldest form of pasta ever made by man, given that it was natural to mix the flour with a little water to make balls to cook. The term gnocco, in fact, derives from the Lombard "knohkka", knot or knuckle, and referred to any kind of roundish pasta.
The first Florentine gnocchi were made of flour and semolina, and they were cooked in broth.
However, gnudi are special, and differ from the classic flour gnocchi for their composition of spinach and ricotta. They probably were invented at a time when the cooks in the kitchen did not have the ingredients to make fresh pasta, so they took the filling of the classic tortelli and transformed it to create a new dish, poorer on one side, but absolutely rich in flavor on the other. The name "gnudi" (naked) refers precisely to the fact that they are like naked tortelli, without the covering of pasta.
Someone loves to eat these delicate gnocchi with ragù or tomato sauce, but the traditional recipe wants them to be seasoned with butter and sage.
They are difficult to find in stores, because they’re not easy to keep. They must be consumed as soon as they’re made, as they can be kept in the fridge only for 12 hours; in alternative they can be frozen for about 1 month.
So, to get a taste of them without going to the restaurant, you will have to make them yourself! But do not worry, they are very easy to make if you have the right recipe and if you handle them gently. If you want to surprise your guests, present them with a nice plate of gnudi, and you'll see that they will ask you for seconds!
Here is the recipe you can try at home:
- 600 g of fresh spinach (450 g if using frozen spinach)
- 350 gr of ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 50 gr of flour
- 1 handful of bread crumbs
-salt and pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- about 50 gr. butter
- fresh sage
Wash and boil the spinach and squeeze them well until all the water has gone, then chop them in the mixer or on a cutting board.
Soak the breadcrumbs in water and squeeze.
In a bowl, mix the spinach with ricotta, flour, breadcrumbs, 4 tablespoons of Parmesan, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
Work them well and then make balls as big as a walnut and roll them in flour.
Boil water in a large pot with a little oil, which will prevent the gnocchi from sticking to each other while cooking. Once the water has started to boil, add salt and gently pour gnudi into the water, letting them cook for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile in a saucepan melt the butter together with the fresh sage leaves.
When gnocchi start to rise to the surface you can remove them with a colander and put them into a bowl with the melted butter. It is important to mix them without crushing them, so during this passage you have to be very delicate.
Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and ... enjoy your meal!