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Massimo Bruno’s gnudi

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.

And I was pretty excited when I saw these babies getting ready to go in the oven:

Little ricotta and spinach gnudi :-)

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.

I made them pretty successfully for Mary Luz, Joel and Bonita who heartily approved:

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.

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Gnudi à la Massimo Bruno

Ingredients:
Serves 6

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.

To cook:
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 :-)

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42 Responses to Massimo Bruno’s gnudi

  1. Juls @ Juls' Kitchen July 1, 2010 at 06:14 #

    Perfect interpretation! You really made an excellent job, they are so Tuscan and roughly as they have to be!
    I usually boil them in a large bot of salted water for a few minutes, I must try your variation!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 2, 2010 at 09:10 #

      Oh Juls I am so glad you approve!!! I saw a bunch of recipes for boiled ones but Massimo prefers them baked! I will definitely try them boiled sometime too!

  2. Belinda @zomppa July 1, 2010 at 07:18 #

    Simply wonderful! Love the step by step here!

  3. Brian @ A Thought For Food July 1, 2010 at 07:41 #

    This is my kind of meal! And we have some fresh sage in the garden that I need to do something with. I think this might have to be made for dinner next week. Great post!

  4. penny aka jeroxie July 1, 2010 at 07:46 #

    Ar.. coating in cornmeal. Shall have to do that the next time. They are so yum!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 2, 2010 at 08:59 #

      Yes it made for a bit of a crunchier texture but I actually prefer the ones just coated in real flour…

  5. Paula - bell'alimento July 1, 2010 at 12:01 #

    I absolutely adore GNUDI! & I need to make them again very soon! Birthday dinner as Massimo’s with friends Sounds like the PERFECT birthday celebration {mine will be this Saturday & I may be making some Gnudi ; ) }

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 2, 2010 at 08:58 #

      Oh Paula I am so glad you approve! And I think you need to get someone else to make them for your birthday!

  6. Daydreamer Desserts July 1, 2010 at 16:06 #

    This is my first time hearing about these, they look and sound fantastic!

  7. Jo @ secondhelping July 2, 2010 at 01:28 #

    Divine, I might need to try them this weekend. I love people like Massimo who store recipes only in their heads. If mine wasn’t so cluttered I might attempt to as well.

  8. Geoff July 2, 2010 at 02:41 #

    Mardi – it does really look good but, from my untrained eye, I’d say it was very filling. Is it? Also, did Mr Neil offer any comment about the kind of wine that might accompany this?
    Gnudi – new word in my lexicon. Nice!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 2, 2010 at 08:55 #

      These are lovely and light actually – paired with a salad they make a great summer meal. As you can see, Neil has commented on the wine pairings :-)

  9. The Housewife July 2, 2010 at 05:46 #

    I’ve never tried gnudi before but I love the concept and your recipe! I hope I get to try it out someday soon!

  10. Dawn@CocinaSavant July 2, 2010 at 08:22 #

    i’ve been wanting to make gnudi for a little while, but never can strike the right inspiration for some reason. this one looks perfect though!!! now i’m inspired and have to head to the store :)

  11. Mr. Neil July 2, 2010 at 08:25 #

    A light red was my pick. A Pinot Noir most likely, but I stayed Italian and did not have a Pinot Nero in the cellar. So I think that night I brought out a fairly simple Chianti.

    For the white-wine drinker in the group I only had a French rose or Pinot Grigio chilled. The former worked well, actually – but was a tad too subtle. The PG was okay…but it wasn’t a very good selection. A Chardonnay with a touch of oak would be my preference, working with the sauce…or maybe an off-dry Riesling which I think would work well with the sage and ricotta. (But not a dry crisp one!)

    We’ll have Mardi make this a few more times, try all the above and take notes to see. :-)

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 2, 2010 at 08:49 #

      Yes we will make this again soon – might branch out and try some different flavours there..

  12. Barbara Bakes July 2, 2010 at 10:21 #

    I love your description! I’ve never had the pleasure of feasting on gnudi. I’ve been missing out.

  13. K a b l o o e y July 2, 2010 at 10:22 #

    Oh boy, these look and sound delicious. They sound easy enough for me to make too, and I love brown butter and sage. Hmmm… I have sage growing in the backyard.

  14. Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle July 2, 2010 at 13:59 #

    Having made and devoured the ‘Popettes’ from Massimo before as you know…I feel it’s a must to do these.

    I also have sage in my garden and I love finding great recipes for use; poor plant is typically only loved in November!

  15. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction July 2, 2010 at 22:03 #

    Yes, please! I would absolutely love these… I just know it!

  16. Corinne @ Gourmantic July 4, 2010 at 06:45 #

    Do you know how good these look? I just finished dinner and I’m hungry just from looking at them!

  17. Trix July 4, 2010 at 13:31 #

    I am a HUGE fan of gnudi, and these look amazing!!

  18. Conor July 4, 2010 at 19:46 #

    Absolutely delicious. Why get dressed if you look this good? Unless it is, oh I don’t know, 0.6 DEGREES(!!!), then it might be a good idea.

  19. cat July 5, 2010 at 13:30 #

    those look so good, and i’ll bet the cornmeal is deliciously crunchy with them. and seriously, how can you not love a dish called gnudi? i just want to say it over and over . . . i’m serving gnudis for dinner . . . hee hee ;) sorry, it comes with living with the short people . . .

  20. Magic of Spice July 5, 2010 at 14:49 #

    What a delightful looking dish…well done:)

  21. My Man's Belly July 7, 2010 at 14:18 #

    I like that these are baked instead of boiled. Just adds some different flavors and textures.

  22. Erika - In Erika's Kitchen July 7, 2010 at 14:50 #

    These look absolutely DIVINE!

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