- 2 bunches of spinach (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 cup for dredging
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup sage leaves, stems removed
- salt, to taste
Steam the spinach in a very large pot about 5 minutes or until all of it is wilted and bright green. Drain spinach thoroughly and then squeeze tightly in an absorbent towel to remove as much of the moisture as possible. Transfer the spinach to the bowl of a food processor and puree. Transfer the puree, about 1 1/4 cups, to a bowl and mix with ricotta, Parmesan, eggs, salt and pepper and 1/2 cup flour. Dust a large jelly roll pan liberally with flour. Scoop out a scant tablespoon at a time and dredge in the flour, transfer to the jelly roll pan. These are very delicate and don't hold together well, you need to support it in your hands all the time. Refrigerate about an hour (longer is fine) before cooking. Cook in boiling salted water in small batches, removing with a spider after they've been floating about 60 seconds. I used an icing spatula to scoop them up off the jelly roll pan and drop them gently into the boiling water. When cooked I transferred them to a bowl with a bit of olive oil so they wouldn't stick. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until it browns a bit. Toss in the sage leaves, spoon in a few tablespoons of the gnudi cooking liquid and cook 2 or 3 minutes or until bright green. Drizzle this sauce over the cooked gnudi. Serve topped with sausage in tomato sauce with a nice crusty bread on the side.
If you make these the "dough" will be very soft indeed. Don't try to dust off all the flour as it forms a sort of gelatinous shell around the gnudi as they cook. Don't stir the pot while they cook or they may break open and disintegrate. I was worried they might not be edible as I'd never eaten them and I wasn't sure how they should be while they cooked. The one that broke open and sort of melted worried me but when we ate them they were lovely and soft. These do not give you that typical squeakiness on your teeth that spinach can yield nor do they have a strong spinach taste. If you like frozen spinach then by all means just use that. I find it has a sort of bitter taste so for me it's worth the (lots of) extra trouble to prepare it from fresh.