I’ve mentioned my disappointment with ravioli before. They are always described by the filling ingredients: artichoke and smoked mozzarella, asparagus and prosciutto, crab and ricotta. But they almost always taste nothing like those lovely combinations; they taste like pasta. This prompted me to create Giant Delicata Squash Ravioli with Sage and Brown Butter where the filling is the star. But now I’m stripping them entirely: naked ravioli, aka Gnudi.
What are Gnudi?
They are cheesy, Swiss Chard and Spinach flecked bites tossed in a simple, garlicky tomato sauce then topped with fresh basil and, of course, more cheese.
I’d seen gnudi (also called ‘nudi’) on menus and in a favorite cookbook of mine, Glorious Vegetables of Italy, but had never made them at home. It was my friend Sonali who inspired me to finally try it with this post of hers.
This recipe is loosely based on the cookbook version, as I was intrigued by the blend of chard and spinach. The finished gnudi are light and airy; they melt in your mouth. And the Garlicky Tomato Sauce is also a find. It comes together in seconds and is the perfect complement to gnudi, but would also work beautifully in many pasta dishes or even as pizza sauce.
Swiss Chard and Spinach Gnudi with Garlicky Tomato Sauce
Garlicky Tomato Sauce
- 1 clove garlic smashed and peeled
- 1 28-ounce jar diced tomatoes with liquid
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Swiss Chard and Spinach Gnudi
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound swiss chard leaves finely chopped, stems removed
- 5 ounces fresh spinach leaves
- 16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese drained well
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus more for serving
- 3 large egg yolks lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup flour plus more for coating the gnudi
- Garlicky Tomato Sauce heated to a simmer, recipe above
- Large handful fresh basil leaves torn into small pieces for garnish
- To make the Garlicky Tomato Sauce: Add garlic and tomatoes with juice to a blender pitcher; blend until smooth. Add olive oil and blend again. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour into a saucepan and heat to simmer once you put your first batch of gnudi into the boiling water.
- To make the Gnudi: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chard; cook and stir until soft and wilted, 5 to 8 minutes. Add spinach; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until all greens wilted and tender. Transfer to colander. When cool enough to touch, squeeze handfuls of the cooked greens to extract as much liquid as possible and transfer to cutting board; finely chop.
- In a large bowl, combine greens, ricotta, salt, pepper, cheese and egg yolks; stir together gently but thoroughly. Sprinkle flour over mixture and gently fold it into mixture.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour.
- Pour some flour for coating the gnudi into a small shallow bowl. With a teaspoon, scoop a walnut-sized amount of the ricotta mixture. Then, with your hands, gently roll it into a ball, then roll it in the flour and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat so that the water is at a low boil and carefully add 10 to 12 gnudi. In a couple of minutes, they will begin to float to the surface. Continue to cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, until they have floated to the surface and have puffed up.
- Remove gnudi with a large skimmer, and transfer them to a warmed serving bowl. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the simmering tomato sauce over the gnudi and gently stir. Repeat process with remaining gnudi.
- When the cooked gnudi are all in the serving bowl, spoon additional sauce over and sprinkle with fresh basil and more cheese. Serve immediately.