long live full fat ricotta! once, in a pinch, when trader joe’s was out of the real stuff, I got a container of low fat thinking, “how bad can it be?” (I mean, low fat, even fat-free greek yogurt can be great, right?) OMG. it was the most disgusting, grainy, watery, SWEET-TASTING abomination that has ever crossed my lips. I dumped the whole thing into the garbage pronto. better no ricotta than faux ricotta–that’s what I say.
These look amazing! I’m obsessed with Ricotta, Ihave a feeling the obsession will continue with these little treasures. I’m so excited to make these.
By the way I completely agree with your comment about using whole milk high quality ricotta, you have to of it just tastes gross.
Thanks for the awesome recipe!
What brand of tomatoes do you prefer? I like Furmano’s, which is a local brand. I’ve never heard of creste or gigli, but I can readily buy fresh high-quality ricotta at a local Italian market and I need to try this dish which I overlooked in Bon Appetit. Last week I had a little leftover roasted cauliflower and made this http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/health/sicilian-pasta-with-cauliflower.html?_r=0 After I made & enjoyed it, I found it in several of my Southern Italian cookbooks. :-)
Hi Louise- I don’t have any canned tomato loyalty. I often buy Muir Glen, which I think taste pretty good. Sometimes I stock up on cans of Italian imports from a local market. That cauliflower pasta sounds so good!
Marcella Hazan’s “The Classic Italian Cookbook”, 1973, has a similar recipe which includes spinach, and it’s called “Gnocchi verdi”. Maybe “gnudi” is a modern name — you know, like they changed certain plants Latin names after doing DNA studies. :-)
Love the gnudi with full fat ricotta! And I’ll put in a plug for homemade ricotta — it’s REALLY easy to do and is so delicious it brings you to your knees! SmittenKitchen has a great recipe for it — no “exotic” equipment needed and it’s quick to do. As for tomatoes, any that say “san marzano” are really amazing and worth the money.
Just found your blog — so glad I did!
Hi Louise- I like having you around as the Lottie + Doof archivist. ; ) I love that book.
LindaC- Making ricotta is satisfying, and if you live someplace where it is difficult to find the fresh stuff it is a great alternative. BUT- I would be careful with the “San Marzano” on the labels. Most tomatoes labeled San Marzano are not S.M. So, best to taste and find one you like regardless of labels. (more on the controversy here)
This post was awesome, Tim! Seriously, it was truly funny to read (you are hilarious!) and the dish looks great–something I remember being intrigued by when I saw it in Bon Appetit but now something I will definitely plan to make.
I have a dear friend who’s grandfather was an amazing Italian chef. She can literally spend hours discussing the naming (and mis-naming by American pasta companies) of pasta shapes. To me they are all pretty much described by comparing them to random objects (the tube-y ones or the bicycle wheel ones). That’s probably why my fiance hates going to the grocery store for me… hoping I can convince him to make me this recipe though. Looks delicious!
Saw this recipe this morning and knew what to make for dinner! Unfortunately, this did not turn out well at all. Currently attempting to retrofit this into a lasagna (that we can give to someone we don’t like, lol).
Oh man. That looks amazing. I love it when you do savory dishes on here! Did you ever hear or read that NPR story on the pasta architecture book? They go into a few funny names too, like strozzapreti, or priest stranglers. Plus there’s a gnudi recipe with lamb sauce. Worth a look!
The photography of this recipe in Bon Appétit was so enticing! I made it soon after that issue arrived. The gnudi were delicate and delicious, but sometimes I want a bit more oomph, y’know? We debated rolling pancetta into them next time.
Any tips for making the gnudi more…solid? I tried this when the magazine came out, and mine fell apart in the boiling water. They wound up having the consistency of grits. My parents claimed to enjoy it, but it was too soupy for me to eat so I dumped the sauce on some spaghetti noodles!
Hey Melissa- I altered the instructions from the BA version to include a range in the amount of flour used. Ricotta varies so much in terms of water content that the original recipe didn’t make sense to me. The store-bought stuff in the tubs is sometimes so wet. The ricotta I used was super thick and creamy and I still used more like 3/4 cup of flour (maybe more?). The formed gnudi need to feel like dumplings, not like piles of ricotta. It is worth trying again, if you’re up for it. They’re really good.
This seems really similar to a recipe for ricotta gnocci that I’ve seen Mark Bittman make – is there a difference between a gnudi and a ricotta gnocchi? Or is “ricotta gnocchi” not actually a thing, but just a name that someone came up with to describe what a gnudi is? I am not a huge fan of the Bittman recipe, I found them very heavy and kind of sticky.
FYI – you can drain excess moisture from the whole-milk ricotta (in a cheese cloth lined strainer, set in a bowl and covered)…in your fridge overnight. I confess my mom and grandmas never made this (we’re Sicilian on both sides), and I’ve always been temped to make gnudi – must do it soon…this looks like a nice recipe.
Okay, so I made these and they are absolutely wonderful. The ricotta I had had been frozen and so the gnudis did not shape up well, but who cares when you are feeding yourself and your spouse. If its not pretty, it still can taste great and these did. The recipe is going in my collection and one to make again and again. Thanks and Thanks! The Pomodoro sauce was used the next night for our pizza. Great tasting and I used the already crushed Furmanos and skipped the blender step. Delicious!
I’m such a ricotta freak I have to stop myself- though I won’t with these pretty babies.
On the “fresh is best” note, ricotta is so easy to make that when I find myself with more milk in my fridge than I might use that week- I turn it into ricotta. Only takes a minute and there you have it.
I have to try this!
My next trip to the supermarket will be brought forward so that I can get some ricotta.
Thanks for the warning about not trying to substitute with low fat.
Although I generally follow recipes to the letter because i assume there is a reason that certain ingredients are there in the quantities mentioned.
Will be back and have bookmarked the site.
To add to the confusion (or fun?), I’m pretty sure that gnudi are the same thing as malfatti (which means ‘poorly made’ in Italian, since they’re kind of blobby). I guess you could call them malfatti if you’re having someone over for dinner who might be offended by nudity!
love, love this sauce. haven’t tried the whole recipe yet. but i woulda never thought that one could use 1/2 a cup of oil in a pasta sauce and it work out. i used fresh tomatoes instead of canned, ps. yummy.
I first saw a gnudi(with spinach)recipe a few years ago from Giada, but never got around to making them. Then I saw your posting and gorgeous photos and knew it was time. I’m glad I waited. I didn’t know if they would fall apart, sink like bricks, be dry and crumbly …but they were absolutely sublime. Light as clouds. Light as pillows. Not too rich. Just a perfectly delicious simple real food dish. If there’s one thing that I think made the difference, it was luckily stumbling upon handmade/homemade whole milk ricotta in Whole Foods. I’m certain this is what put this recipe over the top for me. They were easy to assemble, didn’t need excessive flour, and they floated right to the top. Will definitely make again and again.
I just made two batches of these — one with Dragone brand whole milk ricotta (about $3 for 32 oz) and one with a fancy, locally made tub of whole milk ricotta ($8 for 16 oz). While the locally made cheese had more flavor right out of the tub and had a more pleasant texture, the gnudi made out of the Dragone actually were easier to work with and needed less flour. Both turned out delicious, and I couldn’t really tell a difference in taste after they were covered in sauce, basil, and more parmesan. Mine were very homely looking but quite delicious!
Anyone know if the gnudi can be frozen after shaping, before cooking? Made these once already w/ Sorrento ricotta and they were amazing! Just got some divine fresh ricotta, hence the freezing question. One batch is dinner tonight, but there’s enough for more than one…
Made these last night, with rice flour which made them gluten free and still delicious.
Today I am eating them for breakfast, and I think the night in the fridge actually improved them! Pomodoro sauce, basil, cheese…
I’m feeling angry and defeated after trying this recipe. The “ball” of dough described above only materialized after about 1 or 1.5 cups of flour were added, tablespoon by tablespoon, into the mix. The result was a truly disgusting, dense, doughy pasta (held up well, though!) that I was utterly ashamed to serve. I still can’t believe it.
Whoa, Adam! Always a bummer when cooking leads to anger and shame. I wonder what happened? Was your ricotta particularly loose? The dough should be very soft, it just barely holds together into the gnudi. Sorry it didn’t work out for you, it’s a favorite of mine and is really special when it works.