Little Nummies Dancing on Your Palate

Ah, gnudi...those delightful little pillows of pasta, plump and bursting with flavor, that pirouette on your tongue with every bite. They're not quite gnocchi, not quite ravioli, but something entirely their own – a testament to Italian ingenuity and a celebration of simple, fresh ingredients.


Gnudi hail from the rolling hills of Tuscany, where resourceful cooks transformed leftover ricotta and pasta dough into these delectable morsels. The name itself is thought to derive from the Italian word "nudo," meaning "naked," as these little dumplings shed the usual pasta garment of sauce, proudly showcasing their fillings in all their glory.

Making gnudi is a symphony of simplicity. A light ricotta mixture is seasoned and gently combined with flour and egg, forming a soft, workable dough. This dough is then lovingly shaped into little dumplings, each one a blank canvas for your culinary creativity.

Here is a recipe to try:

For the ricotta filling:
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, or chives)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the dough:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
For the sauce (optional):
  • Your favorite tomato sauce or pesto

  1. In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, herbs, egg yolk, salt, and pepper. Mix well to form a smooth filling.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg. Gradually whisk the egg into the flour until a soft dough forms.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth. Divide the dough into small pieces and roll each piece into a rope about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces and gently roll each piece into a ball.
  5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Gently drop the gnudi into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they float to the surface.
  6. Drain the gnudi and toss them with your favorite sauce (optional). Serve immediately and enjoy!

  • Get creative with your fillings! Add cooked vegetables, chopped meat, or even mashed potatoes to the ricotta mixture for endless flavor combinations.
  • Don't overcrowd the pot when cooking the gnudi. Cook them in batches to ensure they cook evenly.
  • Gnudi are best enjoyed fresh, but you can also store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat them gently in a pan with a little sauce or butter.