Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gnudi...Who Knew?

Kale Gnudi

Last night I went out to dinner with my cousin Christine who also happens to be one of my best friends. My mom and her mom are sisters and ever since we were young girls we were always as close as two cousins can be. She is one year older than me and we have been through every stage of life together.  We went to elementary and high school together, we were on the same cheerleading team (she says I made the cheer team because of her exceptional coaching - I say I was just that exceptional!), I was out with her the night I met my husband at 67 West (she wanted to go home hours earlier but stayed knowing how well Dave and I were hitting it off - love you for that!), she was my bridesmaid, she is the Godmother of Nate and Tyler and she, and her dog Meeko are adored by all three of my boys.  I don't see her as often as I would like but when I do see her we make sure to schedule a good three hours together.  We went to a great restaurant called CRAVing. As I was perusing the menu I noticed a dish called Gnudi on the specials list.  I had never heard of it before but it sounded intriguing. There were so many other fabulous entrees on the menu that I didn't even bother asking the waiter what gnudi was. So we ordered Surf & Turf Sliders, Steak, Banana Peppers & Goat Cheese Pizza and Butternut Squash Handkerchief Pasta...everything was superb, including our barely grasping for air conversation!

So the next morning at work I passed by the Buffalo News which was sitting on a table outside of my office. I glanced at the "Taste" section and it had the most beautiful delectable looking dish on the cover. It looked like a cross between gnocchi and spinach meatballs, minus the meat. The big bold headline was titled "Getting to Know Gnudi." I was like OMG, gnudi was on the specials menu at CRAVing and now I'm seeing gnudi again.  I'm thinking wow, this might be a sign, a match made in heaven, I need to get to know gnudi!!! Sorry Dave- didn't mean to get so carried away! After reading the article I learned that Gnudi is an italian dish that dates back to the 1200's!  Man- gnudi is old, like really old. Being 100 % italian I'm a bit embarrassed to even admit that I had never heard of it before. Gnudi is pronounced like new-dee and they are basically ricotta dumplings. From the article they looked delicious, sounded delicious so I was like I am so making these magical morsels for dinner tonight. Luckily, I had all of the ingredients on hand except the ricotta, no big deal I just stopped at Dash's to get some. I also didn't have spinach, I had kale so I used that instead, very wise choice by the way!  The recipe was easy to make and most of the ingredients are staples in many households. It tastes similar to gnocchi but it's creamier and less dense. I served it as a main entree for my family. I didn't serve a protein with it and I was satisfied, Dave on the other hand thought braised beef or a hearty fish would be a nice compliment. There are so many variations, it can be made with squash or spinach or it can be served with a butter sage sauce or a marinara sauce like I did.

So would I make gnudi again? Absolutely! Who knew he'd be so great. Salute, to you getting to know Gnudi too!

Kale Gnudi (click to print recipe)

This recipe makes about 30

Serves 6


  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 12 oz cooked kale finely chopped
  • salt n pepper
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce

In a medium size pot boil water and add salt.  In a large mixing bowl mix all of the ingredients. with floured hands, shape ricotta mixture into tablespoon sized balls, pictured above. Set ricotta balls on wax paper before cooking them.  Place 6-8 balls in boiling water. Do not overcrowd. Once balls surface to the top of the water cook for 4 more minutes.  With a slotted spoon remove balls from water and place on a plate with olive oil. Boil the rest of the ricotta balls. For a main entree serve 5-6 per plate and add heated marinara sauce.  Eat and enjoy!

Food Impressions:

Nate: He tasted one bite and his facial expression looked like he had just bitten into a sour lemon! I said "Nate, don't you like it?"  He said "No, it's actually pretty good but it doesn't taste like pasta."  I said "It's not really supposed to it's a ricotta dumpling." He didn't eat anymore, I don't think he could get passed the texture thing.

Zachary: "Oh my gosh, this is so amazing. I want more. What is this stuff again?" (Hey what can I say it has ricotta and parm cheese, of course he's gonna love it!)

Tyler: "Wow, this is really yummy." (He devoured his gnudi within minutes!)

*In addition to the boy's food impressions, they also got a good laugh out of pronouncing the name of the dish and kept saying NUDE-EE!

Dave: "These taste like airy light clouds of deliciousness. Each bite you take has layers of flavor."
I could tell he was enjoying giving me his food impression...he would take a small bite, chew slowly, sip some wine, then comment.  He repeated that process over and over!

Andrea (me): I thought this dish were absolutely delicious. I really enjoyed making this new recipe and watching my family's reaction when they took their first bite.  With the exception of Nate, everyone really loved it, so I would for sure make this again. It would also be good as an appetizer.


  1. I am always excited to spend the evening with my dear cousin Andrea, chatting and having a blast exploring the wonderful world of cuisine!! Every gathering we are constantly trying to explore new, hip restaurants or even obtain ideas from establishments that have been a Buffalo staple for years.
    Nothing beats spending time with my favorite cousin , who has been there for me throughout my entire life----while having a delicious dinner!!
    It was VERY odd that we both saw the gnudi on the menu and just skipped over it...I am very glad Andrea chose to prepare this dish. It is always wonderful to try something new. I really liked that you substituted kale for the spinach, just for a twist. I am interested in trying this receipe with Wild Mushroom and Truffle sauce (which also includes fresh sage and prosciutto in the ingredients).
    I will let you know how it turns out!! Until next time, Bon Appetit!!!


  2. Christine, Gnudi with a Wild Mushroom and Truffle Sauce sounds absolutely divine. Please share your food impressions with us once you try the recipe. I'll be curious to know how it turns out!

    1. This looks great - Can't wait for you to make it for us - Although our Italian heritage goes back many many many gerations, I have never heard of it - Leave it to you to find another Italian recipe

    2. I made the Ricotta Gnudi with Wild Mushrooms in Truffle Sauce. The dish was simply amazing! The taste and textures are astounding. The combination of the fresh sage with truffle oil and mushrooms make the sauce to die for. The final touch of the crunchy prosciutto and chopped sage sprinkled on top of the dish make it an A+ recipe! I made several changes, which turned out wonderful.. I added more flour to the gnudi, and this gives it a texture similar to gnocchi, which turned out much more rich and filling. I omitted the butter completely from the sauce, the combination of the fresh herbs and truffle oil make the dish tasty enough-- and who needs the extra calories anyway! I also added a bit of basil, and when making the gnudi make sure you do not overwork the dough, and make them small (1" by 1/2") as they will expand when boiled. Another suggestion is to pan sear the gnudi instead of boiling them, this will give them a crunchy caramelized finish, which is also scrumtious!! I will make this dish time and time again!!

    3. Wow Christine, your version of Gnudi sounds absolutely amazing. I am so glad my post inspired you to make this dish. Please send me your recipe so I can make it, or even better, make it again and invite me over for dinner!

  3. The recipe for the Ricotta Gnudi with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Sauce is as follows...



    1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
    1 large egg
    1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese ( 1 ounce) plus additional for serving
    1/2 tsp salt'
    large pinch of ground white pepper
    3/4 cup flour


    5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    6 thin prosciutto slices
    12 whole fresh sage leaves
    2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms (crimini, oyster, shiitake) sliced
    2 lg shallots chopped
    6 fresh thyme sprigs
    2 tsp chopped fresh sage
    2 cups low sod. chicken broth
    1 tsp black truffle oil
    1/4 cup chilled butter diced

    I made several small changes to this recipe which I will explain..
    For Gnudi,
    line bowl w/ several layers of paper towels. This is very important so the ricotta can be drained. Spoon ricotta cheese into bowl,let drain at least 30 mins and up to an hour. Even though recipe calls for fresh ricotta cheese, I used low fat and honestly it turned out great. Beat egg, 1/3 cup cheese, salt, and white pepper in large bowl to blend, mix in ricotta, and sprinkle 1 cup flour (not 3/4 cup as recipe states) over and stir gently to blend. This gives it more of a gnocchi, rich consistency. Cover and chill 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead.
    Line rimmed baking sheet w/ plastic some flour in a bowl. For each gnudi, gently roll 1 heaping tsp into a ball, add to flour, toss to coat lightly, shaping into a short log. Place each on baking sheet, and may do 4 hours ahead..Cover and chill. (to make quicker, may roll dough into 2 long logs and cut into small pieces)

    For Sauce

    Heat 1 tbsp oil ( I used lemon oil, which gave sauce a wonderful taste) in large pot/skillet over med. high. Add 3 proscuitto slices, cook until beginning to brown, about 2 mins per side. Transfer to paper towels,repeat w/ remaining proscuitto. Add whole sage leaves to pot, saute until crisp, about 1 min per side., and transfer to paper towels.
    Heat remaining 4 tbsp oil in same pot over med. high, add mushrooms,shallots, thyme, chopped sage, saute til mushrooms brown and liquids evaporate, around 10 mins, transfer to a bow. Add broth to same pot and boil until slightly reduced, about 6 mins, and remove from heat. Add 1 tsp truffle oil and mushroom mixture, season to taste w/ salt and pepper. Let stand at room temp.
    Cook gnudi in large pot of boiling salted water, about 8 mins.
    Rewarm sauce, and this is where you can add butter, but I omitted the butter and the flavors were so amazing together I really dont think butter is even necessary but it's up to you...toss until blended. Using strainer, transfer gnudi to pot w/ sauce. Toss over med. heat until sauce coats gnudi.
    Transfer to large shallow bowl, and crumble proscuitto over. Top w/ sage leaves, and serve w/ additional Pecorino....