It surprises me when I say, “I’m making Gnudi for the blog” and I get blank stares with matching blinking eyes looking back at me.
Gnudi are delicious little pillows of ricotta cheese.
They are known as ‘naked ravioli’ in the sense that it is all the delicious filling of the ravioli on its own, no wrapper necessary.
They are like a relative of gnocchi, but lighter and they are made with ricotta instead of potato.
Gnudi are fluffy, airy, light as a feather, yet creamy, rich and oh sooo delicious.
I am not over exaggerating when I say eating these little pillows of ricotta cheese will make you feel like you are floating on a cloud in heaven, figuratively of course.
Obviously you will not literally be transported to heaven… or at least I wasn’t. But you get the point, right?
Gnudi contain less flour then their potato culinary cousin, gnocchi, which make them very misleading.
The reduced amount of flour allow for the gnudi to be so light in texture that you could easily devour a few bowls, without even blinking, or thinking. Then, before you know it, you have inhaled 3 (heaping) bowls of ricotta dumplings and you start counting how many calories you just consumed. But that’s okay, the gym will still be there tomorrow (for you to avoid. Again.).
I made my gnudi filling with basil because that is what I was craving, but you could use any number of different ingredients in your filling.
Next time, I think I’m going to experiment with some butternut squash and roasted garlic in the filling and drizzle them with some sage brown butter. YUM!
And your family will love YOU for making them.
Hope you enjoy!
How to make Basil Gnudi👇
- 3 Cloves Garlic – Roasted (see note below)
- 1 (15 oz. container) Ricotta Cheese
- 4 ounces Parmesan Cheese – roughly chopped, plus more, grated, for serving (optional)
- 2 Large Eggs
- 3/4 Cup Flour , plus extra 1 – 1 ¼ Cups for dusting your board while forming Gnudi
- 1/3 Cup Basil Leaves – roughly chopped
- 1/8 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Pinch Nutmeg
- Salt and Pepper – to taste (about 1 tsp of each)
- 3 TBS Butter , divided
- Marinara Sauce - warmed, for serving
- Insert a fine mesh strainer into a medium sized mixing bowl. Line strainer with cheesecloth (if you don’t have cheesecloth, don’t worry about it, just make sure your strainer is FINE MESH.)
- Add Ricotta to strainer, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to drain for at least 2 hours – up to overnight.
- In the bowl of a food processor add: Parmesan; process until finely chopped. Add remaining Gnudi ingredients: Garlic, drained Ricotta, Eggs, Flour, Basil, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper. Pulse again 10-12 times, or until thoroughly mixed, but DO NOT over process… just pulse enough to incorporate. (If you don’t own a food processor just mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Your Gnudi will still be delicious, they just won’t be as silky in consistency)
- Transfer Gnudi mixture to a pastry bag affixed with the largest circular insert or a Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off.
- Place the bag of Gnudi in the fridge, allow to chill for 1-2 hours or up to overnight.
- For the fun part: forming our ricotta pillows of love. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan to hold the formed, floured Gnudi
- If using a Ziploc, snip, about a 1’’ wide in diameter, corner from the bag.
- Pipe 2’’ ‘logs’ of gnudi onto your floured work surface, using a paring knife or kitchen scissors to cut off each gnudi. Roll gently in flour. Shake off excess flour while shaping them into fat logs delicately in your hands (or you can use two spoons and rotate the gnudi back and forth between them if you don’t want to get a little messy), and place on parchment lined sheet pan.
- Place in the refrigerator while you bring a large pot of generously salted water to a GENTLE SIMMER over medium heat. (I stress GENTLE. If you try to cook these in rapid boiling water they will fall apart on you)
- Simmer, cooking in batches as to not overcrowd the pot, about 4 -5 minutes. They should float to the top pretty quickly. Allow them to float at the surface and finish cooking. With a slotted spoon, remove Gnudi to a plate, clean work surface, or sheet pan. Set aside and continue cooking the remaining Gnudi in batches.
- **You can stop here and serve these as is, or you can make them more delicious with the following steps**
- Place a cast iron skillet over Medium heat. Add 1 ½ TBS butter, allow to melt and brown slightly, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add gnudi, again in batches, sauté until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes, gently turning and rotating for even cooking. Remove to a plate and set aside as you continue to cook the remaining gnudi, adding an additional 1 ½ TBS of butter per batch.
- Serve with warmed marinara, freshly grated parmesan and minced basil leaves.