How to make Tuscan Ravioli Nudi (or Gnocchi gnudi)

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Perhaps one of the more classical and antique dishes in all of Italy, first mentioned in a cookbook from the 1300′s written in the old Tuscan language. These small shaped dumplings are traditionally from cheese and flour and have changed over the years to include potatoes or as in this case spinach and ricotta cheese.

Ingredients:

Weights are approximate, you can vary according to the density of the final mix. This will make enough as a pasta dish for about 3-4 persons.

approx. 2 cups - Spinach and Swiss chard, boiled and pressed so that no excess water remains, they should be finely chopped and mixed well together.
approx. 1 cup - soft and creamy - but not to liquid - ricotta cheese
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
flour (enough to thicken the mix but not more than 3/4 of a cup)
salt, pepper, nutmeg (to taste)
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. You will find that the final consistency should be firm not mushy.

Use a soup spoon to divide out little pieces of the mix to make small meatball shape gnocchi. Roll the balls lightly in flour so that it is not too sticky. Don’t make the balls too large, it you will have a greater chance of them coming apart.

Normally the balls are placed in boiling water until they float to the top and served with your favorite sauce. Meat sauce is a classic however in Italy many like to use simple butter and sage so that the true flavour of the “pasta” comes out.

For those of you who are having problems keeping the pasta together - or if the consistensy just doesn’t look promising, many Italians will spoon the gnocchi into a baking dish, a little bit like cookie dough. Then they lightly cover the balls with a besciamela sauce (either white or with meat sauce) and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top - 30 minutes in the oven at about 300°F and you have a great dish-with a little less work.