Perfect for meatless Monday, these ricotta spinach gnudi are simply ricotta and spinach ravioli – but without the pasta part. Baked with a quick cherry tomato sauce and serve with garlic bread fo a delicious meatless meal!
If you love the ricotta and spinach filling from ravioli, you’ll love these gnudi (“nude-ee”). They are simply those same ravioli filling ingredients, without the pasta part (and you won’t miss it!). Once baked, it is surprisingly light and fresh, full of spinach and tomato goodness.
The ricotta and spinach is mixed with some Parmesan, seasoning and a tiny bit of flour to bind it. It’s then rolled into oval balls that are then baked together with a quick cherry tomato sauce. Served with some golden garlic bread (or nice crusty bread), this is a quick, easy and delicious meatless meal!
Be sure to season each part of the dish as you go along, as it really helps to bring out the flavours.
- 6 cups (packed) baby spinach
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 lb./450 g fresh ricotta cheese (drained, if really moist)
- 4 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pint/283 g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- To serve:
- Additional Parmesan cheese
- Garlic Bread or sliced crusty bread
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Prepare 4 individual baking dishes (or one larger one - something shallow, in the 8x8/7x10-inch range), by spraying with cooking spray. Place onto a baking sheet.
- In a large skillet, saute the spinach with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil, 1/2 of the garlic and a sprinkling of salt and pepper until wilted. Remove spinach to a cutting board to cool.
- Meanwhile, wipe out the same skillet used to cook the spinach. Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat. Add remaining garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant but not browning. Add the cherry tomatoes, butter, basil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until tomatoes soften (3-4 minutes). Turn off heat and set aside.
- Chop the cooled spinach.
- In a large bowl, combine the (cooled and chopped) spinach, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, flour and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Combine the mixture thoroughly.
- Spoon one half of the tomato mixture into the prepared dishes.
- Using a cutlery tablespoon, scoop mixture, in the amount of half an egg, onto the palm of your hands and gently form into a compact oblong/oval by rolling it from the base of your fingers up your palm and back down again.* Place on top of the tomato sauce in baking dishes. Repeat with the remaining mixture, adding 3 to each individual dish or 12 to one larger dish.
- Top baking dishes with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and some Parmesan cheese and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately with some garlic bread (or crusty bread).
If your ricotta cheese is really moist, drain it by placing in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and let it stand for 30 minutes or so.
As mentioned up top, this is a dish that really needs good seasoning. I like to add a bit of salt and pepper to each component – a bit while sauteeing the spinach, a good bit into the ricotta mixture and the tomato sauce and a little bit more over-top of the dish before baking. If your dish seems bland, it’s under-seasoned.
* To roll the gnudi, I like to place a scoop of the ricotta mixture in the palm of my left hand, just at the base of my fingers. Using my right hand, I roll the mixture up my palm, towards my wrist, while gently pressing down to compact the mixture a bit. Repeat until you have a smooth oval that holds together in one piece.
If your gnudi just falls apart when you try to shape it, it is probably too moist. Return it to the bowl and add a bit more flour to your mixture and try again.
I LOVE this dish served with garlic bread. It’s the perfect complement to the flavours of the dish and adds a bit of hearty (as the dish itself is surprisingly light). Try scooping a bit of the gnudi/tomatoes onto the garlic bread!
This dish can be made ahead and re-heated in the microwave or covered loosely with foil in a 350° F. oven.
This recipe was adapted from a David Rocco recipe.
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