Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

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Our second dish of the week on our little tour through Italy, is Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi.  Gnudi means “naked” and is considered to be naked ravioli.  It’s sort of a cross between the filling of ravioli and gnocchi.  In case you can’t tell from the picture above, this is pure comfort food.

This particular dish came to be while I was touring around San Gimignano.  I ended up becoming friends with the driver I had and he even joined us for lunch on several different occasions.  His name was Giuliano and he was from Rome.  Giuliano was only a few years older than me and while on the way from Orvieto to Florence, I noticed the Counting Crows playing on a CD he had in the car.  I asked him if he liked American music and much to my surprise, he said that American music was how he learned to speak English!  How crazy is that?!  Giuliano was a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and his Born in the USA album was the tipping point for learning English.  He said he and his brother would put it on repeat for hours listening to and memorizing the words.  I absolutely loved hearing that story.  That same album was my 4th grade theme music.  I would listen to it and dance my face off in my room as a kid.

After spending several days with Giuliano, we covered every inch of our love for music from Ryan Adams, to Neil Diamond to Lucinda Williams (another of Giuliano’s faves) and everyone in between.  He was such a cool guy and we even stayed in contact for a couple years after the trip.

Having Giuliano as a new Italian friend made the trip all the better.  He spoke the language, could help me get from spot to spot and was able to give a local’s view on what a 30 year old would have fun doing in such an amazing place.  He ended up picking a few of the restaurants I went to, because he knew them all so well.  And yes, every single one was delicious!

San Gimignano is a quaint little city with TONS of tourists.  Giuliano was able to suggest a spot that was a little off the beaten path there, called Ristorante II Pino.   It was like walking into your Italian grandmother’s living room for lunch.  Everything was old and grandma-ish right down to the napkins on the table.  It was fabulous.  Especially since the food was a little richer than some of the other dishes I had eaten while there.  I ordered the Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi that came three dumplings to a small baking dish, covered in the most decadent béchamel sauce you could ever imagine.  Béchamel is very similar to alfredo sauce, but in my opinion, so much better.  There’s not any cheese in it,  it’s just a butter, flour and milk sauce but the flavor kick comes from the little hint of nutmeg added at the end of cooking.  It’s so darn good and when served over the gnudi, it rivals mac and cheese.

As the weather cools down, this will be a comfort food go to.  It’ll warm you up like a big hug from an Italian grandma.


Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

SERVES 8-10 PrintDownload









6 Responses to Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

  1. Thalia @ butter and brioche September 12, 2014 at 3:01 am #

    I love gnudi, especially spinach and ricotta flavoured gnudi! Loving your incredible photography too..

    • admin September 12, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      You and me both! One of my favorites! Thanks for your kind compliment on my photos, it made my day!:)

  2. Elizabeth @ bowl of delicious! September 12, 2014 at 8:16 am #

    Oh my goodness- I am making my grocery list right now and adding all the things I need for this. It looks amazing! I’ve been looking for something to make with ricotta cheese, since I have a random extra container in my fridge right now. Also, that serving fork in the photos is gorgeous (love antique silverware). Pinning! Thanks for the recipe!

    • admin September 12, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Thanks so much Elizabeth! That fork came from a pile of random silverware that my Grandmother had. I couldn’t resist swiping it for photos.:) Let me know how your gnudi turns out! I think it’ll be a repeat offender at my house this fall/winter. Thanks for reading! JG

  3. [email protected] September 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

    These look so incredibly flavorful!! Thanks for the recipe!!

    • admin September 16, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

      Thanks Ami!

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