Ricotta kale gnocchi on blue plate.

Gnudi Toscani – Kale and Ricotta Gnocchi

Expand your Italian culinary range with Kale Ricotta Gnudi, a dumplings akin to gnocchi. These patties boast a crispy exterior and a soft, pillow like interior. Gnudi, or “nude” in Tuscan, represents ravioli without its wrapper, a pasta shell bold enough to stand on its own.

Ricotta kale gnocchi on a plate.

What’s unique about this Recipe?

  • Crowd pleasing vegetarian entree.
  • All the steps can be broken out to make ahead of time.
  • Two different cooking techniques produce two contrasting textures.
  • Formed patties can be frozen and readily available for weeknight dinner.

Grocery and Pantry List

Ricotta kale gnocchi ingredients.
  • Ricotta: Ricotta is a main component and needs to have low moisture. I drain the store-bought ricotta overnight. I keep the homemade ricotta in their baskets until they are properly drained and can stand on their own.
  • Kale: The typical filling for gnudi is spinach. Kale however gives more body. Use the leaves only without the stem. After blanching and chopping the kale, squeezing out as much liquid as possible will be required.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Small amount of grated parmesan cheese goes into the gnudi mix and gives a salty and bold umami flavor. Also use freshly grated cheese on your readied dish.
  • Eggs: Eggs are used to bind the dough together.
  • Flour: Flour absorbs the moisture form kale and ricotta and also binds the dough together. The amount of flour will depend on how wet or dry the ricotta and cooked kale are.
  • Seasoning: Using just a pinch of nutmeg and a ground black pepper.
  • Salt: The amount of salt will depend on how salty the parmesan cheese it. Test the cheese and kale blend before you add the eggs and flour and add the salt accordingly.
  • Oil: You will need a small amount for pan frying. Using olive oil is always the best option. However, sometimes I will use a combination of grapeseed and olive oil. 

Time Required:

  • 8 hours: To drain ricotta
  • 20 minutes: To prepare
  • 20 minutes: To boil and pan-fry gnocchi
  • 30 minutes: Optional chilling

Special Tools to Use:

  • Sauté pan for boiling gnudi
  • Non-stick pan for frying

Ricotta Gnudi Recipe Steps at a Glance

I am breaking down the gnudi recipe into multiple steps. The steps can be done consecutively or spread out.

  • Drain the ricotta
  • Blanch the kale
  • Making the ricotta gnocchi dough
  • Forming the gnocchi
  • Boiling the gnocchi
  • Pan-frying gnocchi

Step-by-step: How to Make

Step 1: Drain the ricotta

Store-bought ricotta can be watery. To remove the excess moisture from store-bought ricotta, transfer into a fine-mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter over a bowl to drain excess moisture. Place the ricotta in the fridge overnight to let the milky liquid drain.

The store-bought ricotta can have excess water. Put the ricotta in a fine mesh sieve; if the sieve has larger holes, use a coffee filter. Allow it to drain the milky liquid overnight.

Step 2: Prepare and blanch the kale

Remove the ribs from the kale by holding the stem with one hand and the base of the leaves with the other. Pull the leaves in the opposite direction. Blanch the leaves in boiling water until wilted, approximately 2-5 minutes. Drain and let them cool down.

Place the kale in a clean kitchen cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Finally, chop into small pieces.

Step 3: Making the ricotta gnocchi dough

Combine ricotta, kale, and Parmesan cheese. Add the seasoning—salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Test the mixture and adjust the seasoning before incorporating eggs and flour.

Whisk the eggs and gradually combine them with the cheese mix. Next, add half of the flour. The mixture should feel slightly sticky and not too stiff.

Step 4: Forming the gnocchi

Generously flour your work surface, whether it’s a sheet pan lined with parchment or a plate. Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture and place it onto the floured surface, ensuring you have equally sized mounds. Dust them with extra flour.

Roll each mound into a ball and shape them into sausage-like forms.

Using a fork or your hands, flatten the gnocchi into oblong patties. Freeze or refrigerate until you’re ready to cook.

Step 5: Boiling the gnocchi

Bring a pot of water to a simmer. Drop the pre-made gnocchis one by one but don’t overcrowd the pan. You might need to cook them in separate batches. With a slotted spoon gently stir them so they are not sticking to the bottom. Prepare a sheet pan or a plate, lined with paper towel or parchment. Let them gently cook for 3-5 minutes. They should float to the top and have an opaque exterior. Remove the cooked gnocchi and place them on the prepared pan.

Step 6: Pan-frying gnocchi

Heat the oil. Place the ricotta gnocchi one by one in a single layer. Let them brown on one side, flip them onto the other side, and fry them for a minute or two until that side is crisp and brown.

Step 7: Arranging on a plate

Ricotta kale gnudi in a plate with tomatoes.

Spoon the tomato sauce on the bottom of a serving plate, arrange the gnocchi into the sauce, and spoon a small dollop on each and serve.

Best Way to Serve

Grating cheese on ricotta kale gnocchi.
  • Serve in tomato sauce
  • Serve with brown butter sage sauce
  • Serve with eggplant ragu sauce
  • Serve with fresh and cooked cherry tomatoes and bed of arugula salad

The possibilities with gnocchi are endless! If you love exploring new flavors, you must try these delicious recipes: Gnocchi Alla Romana, made with rich semolina flour, and Creamy Tuscan Marry Me Gnocchi, featuring tender potato gnocchi. Each dish is a delightful adventure for your taste buds!

Tips and Wisdom from Cafe Osharak

  • Achieving the perfect consistency for the gnudi batter is crucial. Balancing the flour is key—too much results in dense gnudi, too little and they may disintegrate. Test the batter by cooking a couple in simmering water; if they hold their shape, you’re on the right track.
  • Ricotta must be drained to remove extra liquid. Low-moisture ricotta should stand on its own and doesn’t collapse.
  • Use the leaves of the kale only. After blanching, remove excess of water by squeezing as much water as possible using a dishtowel or paper towel.
  • Use a deep sauté pan with a large surface area and tall, straight sides for boiling the gnudi. It will provide a bigger surface and room for gnocchi to float. The water should be simmering and not boiling when you add the gnudi.
  • Remember not to overcrowd the pan and cook them in batches. The gnudi need room to expand and float.
  • You have the option to skip frying the gnudi, but a quick fry creates a thin, crispy coating on the patties. For this, use a non-stick pan. If you happen to have a non-stick straight edge sauté pan you can use if for double duty (both boiling and frying.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze ricotta gnudi?

Uncooked gnudi is a perfect candidate to freeze. Once you form the gnudi, line them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in a freezer. Once frozen, portion them and transfer into freezer safe bags or container.

What is the difference between gnocchi and ricotta gnocchi?

Gnocchi is a fresh pasta type with a distinctive knuckle shape, typically made from starch and flour. While potato and semolina gnocchi are well-known, the ricotta gnocchi, popular in Tuscany, features fresh ricotta as a base with a small amount of flour.

More Recipes to Try From Cafe Osharak

If you try out this recipe, I would love to hear from you. Let me know if you find it delicious and straightforward to prepare. I am here to answer any questions and provide any suggestions. Also, be sure to explore other recipes from Cafe Osharak, as I’m sure you’ll love them too!

Kale and Ricotta Gnudi

Expand your Italian culinary range with Kale Ricotta Gnudi, a dumplings akin to gnocchi. These patties boast a crispy exterior and a soft, pillow like interior. Gnudi, or "nude" in Tuscan, represents ravioli without its wrapper, a pasta shell bold enough to stand on its own.
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Ricotta kale gnocchi on a plate.
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
chilling:30 minutes
Course
Main Course
Cuisine
Italian

Ingredients

  • 220 grams ricotta drained
  • 100 grams kale blanched, chopped, and squeezed
  • 50 grams parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 egg
  • 80 grams flour
  • 20 teaspoon flour for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cups tomato sauce

Instructions

Draining the Ricotta

  • Line a fine-mesh sieve with a coffee filter and place it over a bowl.
    220 grams ricotta
  • Transfer the store-bought ricotta into the sieve.
  • Refrigerate the ricotta overnight to allow excess moisture to drain.

Preparing and Blanching the Kale

  • Hold the kale stem with one hand and the base of the leaves with the other.
    100 grams kale
  • Pull the leaves away from the stem, separating them from the tough ribs.
  • Discard the kale ribs.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  • Blanch the kale leaves in the boiling water for 2-5 minutes, or until they are wilted.
  • Drain the kale and let cool down.
  • Squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible from the kale using a clean kitchen cloth.
  • Chop the kale into small pieces.

Making the Ricotta Gnocchi Dough

  • In a large bowl, combine the drained ricotta, prepared kale, and Parmesan cheese.
    50 grams parmesan cheese
  • Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
    1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Whisk the eggs and gradually incorporate them into the cheese mixture.
    1 egg
  • Add half of the flour and mix until the dough comes together, being careful not to over-mix.
  • If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches a slightly sticky but workable consistency.
    80 grams flour

Forming the Gnocchi

  • Generously flour a work surface, either a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a plate.
  • Use a tablespoon to scoop out portions of the gnocchi dough and place them onto the floured surface.
  • Dust the gnocchi mounds with additional flour.
    20 teaspoon flour
  • Roll each gnocchi mound into a ball and shape them into sausage-like forms.
  • Use a fork or your hands to flatten the gnocchi into oblong patties.

Boiling and Pan-frying the Gnocchi

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Carefully add the gnocchi to the boiling water, avoiding overcrowding the pan.
  • Gently stir the gnocchi with a slotted spoon to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Cook the gnocchi for 3-5 minutes, or until they float to the top and have an opaque exterior.
  • Remove the cooked gnocchi from the water and place them on a paper towel-lined plate or sheet pan.
  • In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
    2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Add the gnocchi to the skillet in a single layer and let them brown on one side.
  • Flip the gnocchi and cook for another minute or two until the other side is also browned and crispy.

Arranging and Serving

  • Spoon the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a serving plate.
  • Arrange the gnocchi over the tomato sauce.
    1 cups tomato sauce
  • Drizzle additional tomato sauce over the gnocchi.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

Step-by-Step Photos: My blog post includes helpful step-by-step photos to help guide you through making this recipe.
  • Achieving the perfect consistency for the gnudi batter is crucial. Balancing the flour is key—too much results in dense gnudi, too little and they may disintegrate. Test the batter by cooking a couple in simmering water; if they hold their shape, you’re on the right track.
  • Ricotta must be drained to remove extra liquid. Low-moisture ricotta should stand on its own and doesn’t collapse.
  • Use the leaves of the kale only. After blanching, remove excess of water by squeezing as much water as possible using a dishtowel or paper towel.
  • Use a deep sauté pan with a large surface area and tall, straight sides for boiling the gnudi. It will provide a bigger surface and room for gnocchi to float. The water should be simmering and not boiling when you add the gnudi.
  • Remember not to overcrowd the pan and cook them in batches. The gnudi need room to expand and float.
  • You have the option to skip frying the gnudi, but a quick fry creates a thin, crispy coating on the patties. For this, use a non-stick pan. If you happen to have a non-stick straight edge sauté pan you can use if for double duty (both boiling and frying.)

Nutrition

Calories: 371kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 1488mg | Potassium: 409mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3122IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 402mg | Iron: 3mg
Servings: 4
Calories: 371kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @osharak.cafe or tag #osharak.cafe!

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