Gnudi with Swiss Chard, Rosemary & Aleppo Pepper

Photo by: La Domestique

by La Domestique

over 2 years ago

Gnudi comes from the Italian word nudo, which means naked. Essentially, we’re talking about ravioli filling without the pasta surrounding it. Ricotta cheese is combined with flour and flavorings to form a soft, delicate dumpling. I’ve come across many recipes for gnudi, but none as simple as Jamie Oliver’s version in issue 19 of Jamie magazine. I tested the recipe and made a few changes. His gnudi dough is made with ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolk, and winter greens (like Swiss chard or Cavolo Nero). After mixing the dough and shaping it, the dumplings are poached in simmering water and then finished in chilli oil. If you’ve never tried making pasta at home, gnudi is a good technique to start with. It doesn’t require any special equipment and you need only a handful of basic pantry ingredients for this recipe. Shaping the dough is no more difficult than baking cookies, so it’s a great kitchen activity to do with kids.

On my first try cooking gnudi, I made some mistakes and learned a few valuable lessons. First, pay attention to the dough. After the ricotta, chopped greens, Parmesan, and egg yolks are mixed together, the dough should be moist and sticky, not dry and crumbly. A dry dough will not be easy to shape, and disintegrate when poached in water. One trick I’ve learned is to add an extra egg yolk if the dough is too dry. It helps bind the ingredients together and adds moisture. The second lesson is the importance of resting. Though Jamie Oliver requested the gnudi be left to rest “at least an hour, longer if possible,” I found he was being too polite. Give the dumplings at least two hours to chill in the fridge (better even overnight) and you will be rewarded with a dumpling that keeps its shape during cooking. Lastly, I learned not to toss delicate gnudi into rapidly boiling water. Poach the gnudi in a shallow pan of water at the lowest simmer. They cook quickly and fall apart in an instant if the water is violently boiling. Cooking gnudi requires a delicate hand, but the result is a hearty, comforting winter dish that’s the perfect simple luxury for a family supper or Valentine’s date at home.

Serves 4-6

  • 13 ounces about 1 bunch of Swiss chard, Cavolo Nero, or spinach leaves
  • 12 ounces (2 cups) ricotta
  • 4 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Parmesan, finely grated
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • all-purpose flour for shaping
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo crushed chili pepper flakes
  1. Cut away the stalks from the chard or cavalo nero, depending on what you are using. Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice and water. Blanch the greens by boiling a large pot of water and tossing in half the leaves, cooking for 3 minutes. Remove the leaves from the boiling water, drain them, and quickly toss them into the ice bath. This stops the cooking and retains the lbright green color. Once the leaves have cooled, pull them from the ice bath and squeeze all the water out of them. Blanch the other half of the greens using the same method. Finely chop the leaves and set them aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped greens and ricotta. Toss in the grated Parmesan, salt, and egg yolks. Stir together well with a spatula just until ingredients are evenly distributed. The mixture should be moist, not dry and crumbly, or the dumplings will fall apart when cooked later.
  3. Make the gnudi. Flour your work surface (a large wooden cutting board works well), and keep a bowl full of all purpose flour close at hand. Use floured hands to shape the ricotta dough into dumplings. The method is like shaping cookies: pick up the dough and roll it into a football shape (rather than a ball). Then place the little football on the cutting board and roll it in the flour to coat. Work quickly, shaping and compacting the dough. Place the finished dumplings on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the fridge so the dumplings can rest for at least two hours, but overnight is even better. Cover them with a damp lint free dishtowel.
  4. To cook the gnudi, fill a wide pan with water to the depth of about 3 inches. Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Take the dumplings out of the fridge and brush them lightly with water, then sprinkle them with all-purpose flour to coat. This will keep the dumplings from falling apart in the simmering water. Gently slide the gnudi into the hot water using a spoon. The dumplings will sink to the bottom of the pot. When they rise to the surface, cook them another minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. This should take about 3 minutes total. Cook about 6 of the dumplings at a time.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, rosemary leaves, and crushed Aleppo chili pepper. Sauté the ingredients for about a minute to infuse the oil with flavor, then pour the hot oil over the gnudi and serve immediately.

Nutrition Info:


  • 479 calories
  • 40g total fat
  • 16g saturated fat
  • 157mg cholesterol
  • 858mg sodium
  • 8g carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 2g sugar)
  • 24g protein
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