Ravioli Gnudi with Walnut Sauce

Ravioli Gnudi with Sage Walnut Sauce

Ravioli Gnudi are ravioli without the wrapper. Just the filling is used. Gnudi is Italian for nude. These are also called malfatti which is Italian for ‘badly made’ and may be a reference to filling that falls out of the ravioli wrapper when cooked.

The Gnudi are made by combining spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, nutmeg and a little bit of flour to hold them together. The mixture is refrigerated and them formed into ‘dumplings’ and refrigerated again for a short time. They are a breeze to cook, as easy as cooking fresh pasta. But they are fragile and need to be handled carefully. I was pretty certain they would fall apart when I cooked them. Or disintegrate. The secret is to cook them at a very slow simmer, not a hard boil, and drain them as soon as they rise to the top.

The hardest part of making them is forming them. Their very soft and fussy. And refuse to keep their shape. Don’t even bother trying to make them all uniform. It’s a nearly impossible task. And a messy one. Noone will notice once you douse them with sauce. Just call them rustic.

Being the curious creature I am I also pan fried some in a mix of olive oil and butter. I made this batch a little bigger in size. They browned up nicely and were denser in texture. But I prefer the boiling method for taste and ease. All this did was make an even bigger mess in my kitchen.

Ravioli Gnudi with Sage Walnut Sauce

I’ve seen these compared to gnochhi but if anything their the complete opposite. Gnocchi are dense and heavy. At least the ones I’ve had. These are light and fluffy like clouds. Little pillows that melt in your mouth. And with the flavors of the creamy sage and walnut sauce completely delicious.

The sauce can be made three different ways: with sage and without walnuts, with walnuts and without sage or with both walnuts and sage. A brown butter and sage sauce would be equally good. Or even a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan. Or butter and Parmesan. And of course with a traditional tomato sauce if that’s what you prefer.

Ravioli Gnudi with Sage Walnut Sauce

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Gnudi (Serves 6)
(adapted from Giada De Laurentiss)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 pound frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup Parmesan, grated
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus 1 cup for coating
Sage Walnut sauce or Tomato sauce,  for serving
1. In a large bowl, mix ricotta, spinach, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and yolks. Stir in nutmeg, salt, pepper, and flour. Refrigerate for a 1/2 to 1 hour.
2. Form mixture into small, flattened balls using a heaping teaspoon of mixture. If mixture is too loose mix in additional flour a tablespoon at a time until it is easier to work with. Mixture should still be pretty soft. Dredge the formed gnudi in flour to coat, tapping off the excess. Refrigerate for a 1/2 hour.
3. Bring a large saucepan of water to a slow simmer. Slide formed gnudi into the boiling water.
Be careful not to overcrowd the pan; work in batches if necessary. Remove the gnudi using a slotted spoon after they float to the top and have cooked for about 4 minutes.
4. Arrange gnudi on a platter and lightly drizzle with sage walnut sauce or tomato sauce.
Sage Walnut Sauce
(adapted from 365 Easy Italian Recipes)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 heaping tablespoons Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 fresh Sage leaves, chopped, optional
1 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped, optional
fresh Black Pepper
1. Add oil to a large skillet over medium-low heat and saute onion until tender. Add garlic and sage, if using. When garlic is fragrant add milk and cream. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add Parmesan and season with Black Pepper. Turn off heat. Mix in walnuts if desired.

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Ravioli Gnudi with Sage Walnut Sauce

Don’t forget to enter my Second Anniversary Cupcake Lover’s Giveaway!

I’m sending this to the lovely Pam of Sidewalk Shoes the host of Presto Pasta Nights this week, an event founded by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.

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