I’m getting back to basics. I love Tuscan food, you know. But I had not yet reached the point to crave for chicken livers patè out of the blue to make some crostini on a normal day, without anything special to celebrate. Probably this is due to the fact that my daily diet has changed significantly since I discovered some food intolerances: brown rice and legumes had a considerable increase and I enjoyed playing with them and pairing them with seasonal vegetables and spices to have a new dish every day.
In this change of direction towards foreign cuisines my culinary roots made sure to be heard. They were almost petulant in asking me to get back cooking something typical, traditional, local, homey. Besides the chicken liver crostini to celebrate the extraordinary calm of a lunch for two, I made also a peposo that was enough for two days and gnudi with ricotta and spinach.
Gnudi represent my approach to cooking, so simple that at times they may almost seem trivial. It is reassuring to serve a dish full of gnudi with a simple tomato sauce or with butter and sage, it drops all the resistances and opens the door to relaxed gestures, such as a scarpetta, a piece of bread to mop all the sauce left in the plate.
They do not require much manual skill, just a bit of practice and patience. They can also easily be made gluten-free by substituting wheat flour with rice flour: they’ll need more time to rest and extra gentleness in handling and cooking the delicate dumplings, but the result is light and elegant.
Gnudi are also so simple that Tommaso and I thought to show you how to make them easily with a video recipe.
Gnudi with ricotta, spinach and Swiss chard, the recipe
Watch the video to have a quick look at how to make gnudi, then follow the recipe for step by step instructions. I can see gnudi on your next Sunday lunch, am I wrong? This is the gluten-free intake on a traditional recipe. If you opt for the traditional one, check this recipe.
- 250 g fresh spinach
- 250 g fresh Swiss chard
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 300 g fresh sheep milk ricotta
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano
- Rice flour
- Rinse under running water spinach and chard, then blanch for 5 minutes in boiling water.
- Drain the vegetables and once warmed squeeze them with your hands to remove excess water. Chop them finely with a knife.
- Sauté spinach and Swiss chard in a pan with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a clove of garlic. Mix the spinach and chard with ricotta, add the grated Parmigiano and season with salt and a good pinch of grated nutmeg, then add one beaten egg: mix thoroughly.
- Now make the gnudi. Use plenty of rice flour to shape small walnut-size balls with your hands. The flour will work as a protective film, preventing gnudi from melting into boiling water.
- Arrange them on a dish generously dusted with rice flour, well spaced from each other. Leave the gnudi into the flour for about one hour, turning them once in a while to coat them with flour.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook gnudi in batches.
- When they rise to the top – it will take just a few minutes, sometimes only one – lift them out with a slotted spoon and season them.
- They are excellent served with butter and sage, or with a simple tomato sauce and a good sprinkle of grated cheese.
Gnudi can easily be made with any leafy green you like. I tried them with kale and also with foraged herbs. Have you ever tried to make them?