Those of you who read ELTW on a regular basis will know already that I am a huge Massimo Bruno fan. From the first time we ate at his supper club, I fell in love with his simple, rustic Italian fare. Even moreso when I attempted his Popette d’Uova and they were fantastic. Many times over. For my 40th “intimate dinner” I had dinner at the supper club with 24 of my foodiest friends.
Tender little dumpling-like mouthfuls of goodness, gnudi are cousins to gnocchi and are sometimes called “naked ravioli” (so, imagine the filling only of a ricotta and spinach ravioli).
I asked Massimo for the recipe and he insisted on talking me through it on the phone. You should see my notes! You see, Massimo cooks from his heart and everything he needs to know is in there. Writing down a recipe isn’t what he does. He just knows.
And then I made them again for a dinner with some friends who need gluten free food. I used cornmeal instead of flour to coat them in (as Massimo did the night we ate them for my birthday) and it gave them a lovely crunchy texture hiding the soft smooth ricotta, cheese, spinach filling.
Below is the recipe as best I could write it from the notes I took chatting to Massimo. Looking around the internet there are numerous versions of this kind of gnudi as well. Having made this dish three times now, I feel a little like Massimo, that I just know what looks and feels right.
Gnudi à la Massimo Bruno
2 large bags fresh spinach, large stems removed, washed well
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
about 600g ricotta, preferably fresh, drained overnight in a fine sieve in cheesecloth over a bowl
about 100g freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Semolina or flour, for dusting
1 stick (about 120g) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh sage, plus about 8 leaves
For the gnudi:
Steam the spinach until wilted and bright green. Drain, and press excess water out using the back of a spoon and the sieve and let cool slightly. Roll spinach in paper towel and continue to squeeze to remove remaining liquid. Roughly chop (I used kitchen scissors).
Combine spinach, egg yolks, ricotta, cheese, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper until all ingredients are well incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest in fridge for a couple of hours.
Flour your hands and, using two small spoons, shape small rounds of the mixture (think fat ravioli size!). Roll the rounds in flour and shake off excess. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate or keep cool until ready to cook.
For the butter sage sauce:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan until bubbling. Roughly chop the sage and add to butter. Remove from heat and allow butter to infuse with sage flavour until ready to use. You might need to remelt this before coating the gnudi.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Brush the gnudi with the melted butter/ sage mix and bake for 10-15 minutes. You can broil them on high for a couple of minutes at the end to get a crispy browning on the outside. Drizzle with the remainder of the butter mix and perhaps a few finely chopped sage leaves.
Try them. If you liked the Popette d’Uova, you will LOVE these