Ricotta Gnudi

More Top Chef ... Did anyone catch this? I was watching an old episode and one of the judges mumbled something about gnudi and the way the chef had prepared it.  I reversed and listened again. Yep. They called it gnudi and the recipe title was spelled out on the screen. Not nudie, but gnudi. This particular chef served his gnudi fried, with scallops.

I didn't have a clue what gnudi was. Imagine my surprise to find out it's little cooked pillows of ricotta cheese, used exactly like pasta, and related to gnocchi. And it's pronounced the way you'd think: NU-DEE. Think "nude" ravioli: filling without the pasta around it —  light, fluffy and creamy.

This seems to be a month for discovering new things, so I decided to find a recipe and make it. Zen Can Cook suggested using fresh ricotta to make gnudi and I thought it was a great idea. (You can use regular ricotta too, just let it drain for an hour or so.) I remembered Heidi at 101 Cookbooks  had a recipe for making your own ricotta and it was so simple I could hardly believe it. You can find her recipe HERE and at the very end of this post, a photo of my efforts. Fellow blogger Reeni  posted a recipe for spinach gnudi recently so perhaps I'm a little late to the gnudi party.....

Zen made his without using flour in the ricotta, which may have been what caused so many problems for him; his ricotta was wet and he was frustrated several times before he got it to work: " if your ricotti is not dry enough it will collapse into a pitiful puddle of cheese at the contact of boiling water or hot butter… believe me, I went there."

So, sorry about this, gluten-free readers, but I ended up with another recipe for gnudi that uses flour. As a result, I had no problems. Then I proceeded to form and cook the gnudi the way Zen suggested.

After that, I switched to a mushroom gnudi recipe I found in an old Bon Appetit; you know how much I love mushrooms. They had a super idea to flash fry some proscuitto and sage to garnish the dish. It was a brilliant idea (and I'm going to use it for some other dishes)...it tastes just like bacon and looked marvelous on top of the dish.

An additional note: there is some resting and refrigeration time involved, so read the recipe through before starting.

Now, the photo that accompanies the recipe is exactly the way it's supposed to look, but for some odd reason when I plated it, I didn't put nearly enough of the sauce on the plate. Trust me, there is plenty of sauce!

Ricotta Gnudi with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Sauce
Bon Appétit,
January 2007

1 pound fresh ricotta cheese

1 large egg

1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 ounce) plus additional for serving

1/2 teaspoon salt

Large pinch of ground white pepper

1-2 cups semolina for coating gnudi


5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

6 thin prosciutto slices

12 whole fresh sage leaves

Mushroom sauce:

2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms (such as crimini, oyster, and stemmed shiitake), sliced

2 large shallots, chopped

6 fresh thyme sprigs

2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

2 cups low-salt chicken broth

1 teaspoon black truffle oil

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) chilled butter, diced

If you are using regular ricotta: Line a bowl with several layers of paper towels. Spoon the ricotta cheese into bowl. Let drain at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. 

If you are using homemade ricotta, ignore this step. The ricotta will be dry enough.

Beat egg, 1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, and white pepper in large bowl to blend. Mix in ricotta.  Spread half the semolina in a pie pan. Put the ricotta mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a #9 or #10 tip and pipe blobs (or drop 1 tablespoon at a time) onto the semolina. Cover with the remaining semolina (it should look like the Sahara Desert at this point) and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 24 hours.

When ready to proceed, pick up the gnudi from the semolina brushing off the excess, and roll them in the palm of your hands one by one to form little sausage shapes . Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours) until ready to use. (This also helps to ‘set’ the skin.)

When ready to cook, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook gnudi until tender, about 5 minutes.

For garnishes:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large pot or extra-large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 prosciutto slices. Cook until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels. Repeat with remaining prosciutto. Add whole sage leaves to pot; sauté until crisp, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to paper towels.

For sauce:
Heat remaining 4 tablespoons oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add all mushrooms, shallots, thyme, and chopped sage. Sauté until mushrooms brown and liquids evaporate, about 12 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl. Add broth to same pot and boil until slightly reduced, scraping up browned bits, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 1 teaspoon truffle oil and mushroom mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. do ahead Sauce can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Cook the gnudi as described above.

Meanwhile, rewarm sauce. Add butter; toss until blended. Using strainer, transfer gnudi to pot with sauce. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats gnudi. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to large shallow bowl. Crumble prosciutto over. Top with sage leaves; serve with additional Pecorino.


Making Ricotta:


  1. How exciting, I don't think I've ever had gnudi although I have made a ricotta based gnocchi. Definitely bookmarking this one, thanks Barbara. Love the photo, and I sometimes (only sometimes), think prosciutto is better than bacon, especially when it gets all shardy and crisp like that. Yum!

  2. I adore gnudi! That fall dish looks so droolworthy and flavorful. To die for!



  3. How clever of you to catch that on the show Barbara. I'm not familiar with gnudi either. Your photo is spectacular. The sage leaves leaves and the fried proscuitto give it a very fall-"ish" look.

  4. Hey Barbara, I love gnudi, though I've never made it at home. Yours looks just like the stuff we served at the organic restaurant I worked at for years. Their gnudi was perfect, so I'm imagining yours was too. Plus, almost anything with semolina is delicious;)

  5. I know this naked ravioli is to die for. I bake mine which prevents any mishaps or mistakes on my part.

  6. It's funny, Barbara, the first time I made gnudi they were amazing... the second they were death balls... for the life of me I can't understand why. I love your experimentation and the way you get to the root of things. Perhaps I will give them a try again with your superlative recipe. I seem to remember my successful batch was with beets... airy pink pillows sauced with way too much butter... the second was spinach ...rubbery and hard. Maybe it was my ricotta??

  7. These gnudi sounds amazing with wild mushrooms and truffle sauce! A must try for sure!

  8. Nice catch on the show!! G'nudi or nudi, it all looks good whatever it's called!! The pictures, as usual, are amazing. Makes me want to dive right in!

  9. I'm with you. I love discovering new things. It always amazes me how many others already know about so many things...haha! This sounds so good! I love cheese all different ways. Yay! a new cheese dish for me! :D

  10. Oh my! That sounds heavenly. I might have to try that one night when I know the Knight is tied up with meetings...

  11. I saw that episode too, Barbara, and didn't have a clue what gnudi is. Your presentation is deliciously beautiful. Bookmarked!

  12. I love this Barbara and I love Bonne Apettit, delicious recipe! x gloria

  13. Again you come up with an amazing recipe. You are so adventurous. This dish looks delicious! Another job well done.

  14. These look great...I will have to try this recipe!

  15. Oooo... I want to make my own ricotta too! Btw, how many times have you reversed the tape??? hahaha.... I think the recipe is wonderful. I'll list down for later use. Thank you & enjoy your day.
    Cheers, Kristy

  16. Never hear or had this, looks divine

  17. Barbara...if you think you're late to the nu-dee party...well, you certainly could not beat an Italian such as myself never having eaten them in the first place! I've got tons of catching up to do ;o)
    I'm bookmarking so that I can surprise my Hubby with this great dish.

    Flavourful wishes,

  18. Looks fantastic, perfect fall dish! I would love a large plate!

  19. Don't you just love Top Chef? I am looking forward to Top Chef Desserts that starts this week.

    I bookmarked a Gnudi recipe a while back. I need to find the time to make it. This looks so good.

  20. I'd never heard of this before! Now I need to go drool over your bread pudding muffins...

  21. This is the first time I hear about these but your dish looks incredibly appetizing.

  22. Thank you for clueing me in - I'm even later to the gnudi party! Looks fantastic!

  23. Barbara...I never had gnudi, and really feel that I am missing something very yummie...would love to try gnudi...I can tell you that I will like it since I like the ingredients in it :-)

  24. Barbara, it definitely payed off for you to listen carefully to the show as this looks and sounds delicious. I've never heard of gnudi and must try it. Thanks for the introduction!

  25. Fantastic, Barbara!! I've never made gnudi or heard of it, but after reading your recipe I KNOW I will love it!! And I'm delighted by the flash-fried sage and prosciutto. That is brilliant. :-)

  26. I love everything about this dish! Ravioli filling without the pasta sounds amazing...that way I can cut to the chase and dive right in to my favorite part! ;) The mushrooms were a great addition too.

  27. I've never even heard of gnudi before but I love gnocchi (and ricotta) so this recipe seems like a keeper! I really can't put into words how much I love pasta...

    Really, I can't.

  28. I'm afraid I would like this very, very much! I've never had gnudi but love gnocchi. What a wonderful and comprehensive recipe, Barbara. I would like to try making this!

  29. I've never had gnudi, but it looks wonderful. This recipe is fabulous- I love the mushrooms as well.

  30. Hi Barbara,

    No I have never heard of gnudi and was excited to learn of something new.
    As I love mushrooms, I look forward to making this, thank you for sharing the recipe.
    We are watching Masterchef USA with Gordon Ramsay, did you watch this?

    Have a great week

  31. I love any recipe with sage leaves!

  32. oh wow! This looks incredible! i wish I could stop being lazy and actually investigate all the foody terms and ingredients i hear and screw my face up in confusion about! well done.

  33. yep, the 12-year-old in me definitely giggles at the name, but the adult in me DROOLS. what a fantastic and elegant dish!

  34. You really upped the gnudi ante by a lot with this dish! I'm pretty sure you would have outperformed the guy on Top chef!

  35. Giada made it once (she didn't fry hers) and I couldn't stop giggling the entire episode. You'd think I'd have grown up by now...

  36. Wow and wow Barbara. You know cheese and mushrooms are 2 out of 3 of my favourite foods. This looks gorgeous and I had never heard of Gnudi either. I wonder if it would work with soy flour?

    I really appreciate how you take the time and effort to make these gentle feasts. More people ought to fill moments like that.

  37. My goodness, this is a real winner, it looks totally sumptuous! Even though I had a big plate of pasta for dinner, i feel like I could totally make room for this.
    *kisses* HH

  38. Un plat somptueux. Bravo!!!
    Ça doit être délicieux.
    See soon.

  39. I'm always learning about new dishes from Top Chef, but I'm never brave enough to try any of them at home. So I'm very impressed!!

  40. Hi Barbara, Like many of your readers, I was unfamiliar with Gnudi until this post. I'm thrilled to come across something new like this--and love your addition of those delectable crispened sage leaves.

    this one has so many great possibilities!! thanks!

  41. When I've made gnudi in the past, I always baked it in a tomato sauce. Your sauce sounds so much better! I love mushrooms too.

  42. Your gnudi look absolutely delicious Barbara! Especially with your homemade ricotta making it extra special. Thanks for the shout-out!

  43. I've never heard of gnudi but it sounds completely delicious! I am crazy for mushrooms too so this kind of gnudi sounds like the perfect choice to me!

  44. These are so much easier to handle than potato-based gnocchi, which can take some finesse. So, there's no excuse not to make them. ;)

  45. How interesting! I had no idea what it was either!

  46. What a great result--nobody would have guessed this was your first try! Thanks for the step by step photos!

  47. I love gnudi too Barbara! I love the texture of it and it is just so easy and reliable! :D

  48. This is a fine looking creation. I had heard of but never before seen gnudi. Now I know :-). Years ago I made spinach and ricotta dumplings, but that's as close as I ever got to this recipe. What really thrills me is the sauce you've used to dress the dumplings. That sounds other worldly and can be used on many other things as well. Thank you! I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  49. What a spectalular dish! Sam is right, it looks like Fall. Thanks for sharing something new. Never heard of gnudi.

  50. Lovely and refreshing recipe, like the ricotta preparation. Nice to have come across your site, hope to come for more soon. Best wishes.

  51. On of my favorite things my mom made during my childhood was called "gnocchi" in a Junior League cookbook but was really more like gnudi, i think--little pillowy blobs of ricotts and spinach, bound together and boiled like this. She then finished them quickly in the oven with melted butter and parmesan. Just thinking of them makes me want them right now! Anyhow, love this post.

  52. love the one on top,
    both are yummy looking.

  53. I guess curiosity always bring out something wonderful, or at least ... exciting...

    Gnudi with truffle sauce look delicious..

    Sawadee from bangkok,

  54. I love these, but have never made them. Maybe now is the time.

  55. hi, new to the site, thanks.



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