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Homemade Italian Gnudi: Gluten-free, Naked Raviolis

March 3, 2014

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After finishing a meal, do you ever fantasize that you’re back at the table eating the same thing all over again because it was that ridiculously good? Fair warning: that’s likely to happen with this recipe. Gnudi is Italian for naked, which is pretty accurate since they’re essentially a stripped-down version of ravioli or gnocchi. Instead of being surrounded by a pasta shell, all that’s left is the delicate, plump pillows of cheesy, molten filling. They only take about 20 minutes to make, which is just enough time to perfect saying meraviglioso cibo (“wonderful food” in Italian)!

This lightened-up take on gnudi uses leafy greens, fresh organic cheeses, and spices like red pepper and garlic that bring out the gnudi’s savory flavors. It’s a really fun dinner to make with a partner—tap them as your sous chef as you roll each un-pasta ball in rice flour and plop them into boiling water. The delightful dumplings will immediately sink to the bottom of the pot and then resurface when fully cooked. Waiting for them to pop up is part of the fun—in my house, we often debate which ones will be the last to float. As a finishing touch, drizzle the gnudi with your favorite marinara sauce, or simply top with plum tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. For a side dish, consider pairing gnudi with roasted eggplant or a warm mushroom salad. 

Naturally Gluten-Free Naked Ravioli

(Adapted from Bread & Companatico)

Yields 14-16 balls (2- 3 servings)  

Ingredients

  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cooked and chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil leaves
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. organic ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup of grated organic fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
  • ½ tsp. dried red pepper flakes (or less according to taste)
  • 1 small organic free-range egg white or equivalent egg substitute
  • 2-4 tbsp. of rice flour for the batter
  • Additional flour for coating each gnudi 

Instructions

1. Prepare all of your ingredients. Sauté garlic in a small amount of olive oil on low heat until softened, then set it aside. In the same pan, steam your spinach and basil over medium heat until leaves are wilted. Let leaves cool, and drain liquid by squeezing leaves with your hand or by placing them in a colander and pressing out excess moisture. Place ricotta in a strainer to drain liquid as well.  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the garlic, spinach, basil, ricotta, parmesan, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Add the egg white and mix until it is well combined.3. Boil a pot of water. Set out a sheet of wax paper on your countertop and a small bowl of rice flour.4. Add rice flour to the batter until the cheese mixture is just thick enough to be shaped with your hands. Portion out the cheese mixture by using your hands or a spoon and roll it into balls that are a slightly larger than a quarter.5. Gently roll or dust each ball in rice flour.6. Place each gnudi into the boiling water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until each ball rises to the surface.7. Rescue each one out of the pot with a slotted spoon. Portion the gnudi into bowls, top with sauce, and serve while it’s still hot. Buon appetito!