• Spinach and Ricotta Balls - Gnudis

    6 votes
    Spinach and Ricotta Balls - Gnudis
    Prep: 20 min Cook: 25 min Servings: 6
    by John Spottiswood
    300 recipes
    I've been looking for tasty ways to cook spinach and wild greens because they are so healthful. This one is fantastic. These are called Gnudis in Florence because they are "nude", e.g. missing the pasta on the outside. These are sort of like a spinach ravioli without the pasta. If that doesn't sound all that flavorful to you, wait till you sink your teeth into one of these. They pack an amazing amount of flavor! Our kids loved them too. And by leaving off the pasta, you cut the work at least in half. All in all, these took me about 30 minutes and it would be less the second time. A must try! I adapted this from a recipe in the "Red, White and Greens" cookbook by Faith Willinger. A good one.


    • 1 pound wild greens or spinach (e.g. swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, broccoli rabe, beet greens, collards, etc.)
    • 5 quarts water
    • Salt plus 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
    • 1 cup ricotta (drained if watery, whole milk preferred)
    • 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano (parmesan)
    • 1 large egg
    • A few gratings or sprinkles of nutmeg
    • Flour to coat


    1. Bring 5 qts water to boil
    2. Wash greens and place in boiling water for 4 minutes or until tender.
    3. Remove greens with slotted spoon or with colander and another pot so you reserve the boiling water for cooking the Gnudis.
    4. Rinse the greens in a colander with cold water, grab handfuls, and squeeze (hard) to remove all the water. Place the balls of compressed greens in a food processor or strong blender. Roughly chop the greens in the blender, then add the egg, Ricotta, Parmigiano, teaspoon kosher or sea salt, and nutmeg and process into a smooth paste.
    5. With a spatula or spoon, transfer the paste into a medium size zip lock or other plastic bag. Cut a 1/2 inch off the corner of the bag so you can squeeze the paste into walnut size balls.
    6. Sift a layer of flour onto a smooth, clean surface (I do this directly on my granite counter...or use a cutting board). Squeeze 9-10 walnut sized balls of paste onto the flour. Sprinkle a little extra flour on top of the balls, then roll gently on the surface and in your hand to cover completely place in the boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes and remove (Gnudis will be floating when you remove them). Transfer the Gnudis with a slotted spoon to a 9-12 inch baking pan, and repeat until mixture is all used up (about 30 Gnudis in all). These steps can be done up to a day in advance of serving. Just refrigerate the baking dish of Gnudis.
    7. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle Gnudi's with a good marinara sauce, melted butter, or meat sauce. (I've used Trader Joe's Basil Marinara with great results.). Sprinke with grated Parmagiano and bake for 14 minutes until cheese is melted and Gnudis have firmed and lightly browned.

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    • Nancy Miyasaki
      Nancy Miyasaki
      These were really wonderful. Give them a try!
      • Douglas Arnold
        I had this today, and the Gnudis was very soft and fragile. I covered it with meat sauce I had in the freezer and some shredded cheese. It tasted great, but when served it didn't look like balls, it looked spinach ravioli filling. I served this with lamb and eggplant meatballs.
        • Lourdes Day
          Lourdes Day
          Really enjoyed this recipe. Have a group of girlfriends and we meet twice a week to try out new healthy recipes. This one was a hit! Can't wait to make it for my family for dinner this weekend. Thanks!
          • Joan Smith
            Definitely going to try this one. Sounds delish. Thank you.


            • Betsy DiJulio
              Betsy DiJulio
              Nice...I may try with tofu since I'm vegan.
              • Luca Androsoni
                Luca Androsoni
                Io l"ho provata...non vene pentirete! L.A.
              • Paulette MacDougall
                Paulette MacDougall
                Mine turned out not only soft & fragile but oozed into non-meatballs shapes. Tried it twice (1st 2 sets same batch) to be sure I was cooking it long enough. Added some flour to the rest of the batch & they came out great - the way you'd expect a soft dumpling to be (& still tasted fantastic). In fact, took the 1st two batches (which came out rather runny & too soft) & threw them back in the processor (couldn't bear to throw them away). The "batter" was still light & fluffy so hand-stirred in a little flour. Re-cooked them & it worked great. They now look like "meatballs" & are still packed with flavor. Wondered if anyone else had this problemo.
                • John Jenkins
                  John Jenkins
                  Really different. I would make them again and experiment with a adding something to firm up the Gnudis a little. They managed to stay intact when I boiled them, but barely. I liked that they were not belly bombs. Very light and healthy.
                • Denise Cottrell
                  Looks interesting enough for me to try !! Thanks for sharing.
                  • Patrick Travis
                    Patrick Travis
                    Sounds like an excellent main course when we entertain our vegetarian friends.

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