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.



Gnudi à la Massimo Bruno

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 🙂


42 thoughts on “Massimo Bruno’s gnudi”

  1. 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!

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  3. 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 ; ) }

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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. 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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 . . .


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