It’s still novel not to be working on weekends and have the time for city food adventures. This weekend I went to the wonderful Italian cheese store La Delizia Latticini in East Victoria Park for the first time. Along with the most luscious Stracciatella and trembling Burrata I bought fresh Ricotta and decided to make a batch of Spinach Gnudi for Sunday lunch. A Florentine term gnudi, or naked, refers to their resemblance to ravioli minus the pasta. An entrée I often made at Foragers when there was an abundance of sage in the garden. Ricotta varies in quality significantly. If you’re buying fresh ricotta in a tub, you’ll need to drain the whey enough for a more compact drier texture; starting out with around 350g wet to give you 245 g drained. Some delicatessens will sell fresh ricotta in wedges, which is perfect for this recipe as the mixture can’t be too wet otherwise, they will fall apart when cooked. This may sound a little complicated but they’re easier to make than ravioli or gnocchi. Pillowy soft and an absolute crowd-pleaser.
250 g pack frozen spinach or 2 bunches fresh spinach
245 g fresh La Delizia Latticini Ricotta (already drained)
1 tbsp + extra Parmesan, finely grated
4 tbsp wholemeal plain flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp + extra nutmeg, freshly grated
100 g butter
24 sage leaves
Freshly cracked black pepper
- If using frozen spinach, defrost and then place in a sieve. Using the back of a spoon, press out as much liquid out as possible. This will be about half the weight of the frozen spinach leaving you with around 120 g of chopped cooked spinach. If using fresh bunches, wash and trim the stalks. Blanch in boiling water and refresh under cold water. Squeeze out as much water by hand as possible before rolling in a tea towel to further dry. Roughly chop and weigh off 120 g.
- Place the chopped spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, wholemeal flour, salt, nutmeg and egg in a bowl and combine well.
- Using a teaspoon, scoop 20 – 22 walnut-sized balls of the mixture onto a baking paper lined tray. Place uncovered in the refrigerator for 20 – 40 minutes to firm the outside. Using your hands, lightly roll to make even balls.
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Cook the Gnudi in batches, until they float to the surface; removing carefully with a slotted spoon onto paper towel.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan until foaming and starting to brown. Swirl through the sage leaves until the edges of the leaves curl and are crisp.
- Pour the sage leaves and brown butter into a sieve over a bowl. Garnish the Gnudi with the sage leaves and then spoon over the nut-brown butter.
- Garnish with finely grated Parmesan, freshly grated nutmeg and freshly cracked black pepper.