Gnudi (Pronounced NUDIE)

I just looked back on my blog and realized that I hadn’t posted anything since I posted the bologna cake I made to celebrate a good friend’s birthday back in early December.  A lot has happened since December 10th  when I posted that and I need to get back on my blog and share my food adventures.  I subscribe to several food magazines, enjoy watching cooking shows (especially Top Chef and the Chew), and I have way too many cookbooks.  Recently I watched an episode of the Chew where Michael Symon made Gnudi with brown butter and sage and I decided I had to make them.  I told my good friend Jane about them and she decided she had to make them too!!  Gnudi is basically a ravioli without the pasta.  The semolina flour that you roll them in forms a skin so you basically end up with cheesy, buttery goodness.  On television they looked really simple.  They whipped them up in like 15 minutes!  And everyone was smiling and wide eyed and ooohed and aaahed as they ate them.  We all love things with only a few simple ingredients and no complicated instructions, right?  Well.  I would not recommend Gnudi!  But I’m still going to share the recipe, the process, and ultimately the edible outcome.


1 pound whole milk ricotta

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 egg yolk

3/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1 pound semolina flour

For the brown butter:

1/2 cup butter

sage leaves

So here, at the very beginning, is where Michael Symon’s instructions have me scratching my head.  He says to drain the excess liquid from the ricotta by putting it in a fine mesh colander or on paper towel.  As instructed, I put my whole milk ricotta in a mesh strainer.

NOTHING.  There is no excess liquid.  There is no liquid at all.  Michael must get special ricotta not available to me here in Michigan’s wilderness.  So okay.  Mine has been pre-drained.  Next I shredded my Parmesan cheese, separated an egg and mixed the cheeses and egg together along with some fresh grated nutmeg.

For the record Michael did not add an egg yolk.  I decided to do that since apparently I had some very dry ricotta.  Once the cheeses are mixed cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Then, using a small scoop, form the cheese mixture into balls and gently toss in a bowl of semolina flour.  Remember, the semolina flour is supposed to form a “skin” or faux pasta on the gnudi.

Line a 9×13 pan with a layer of semolina flour and put your balls in the pan to rest.  Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight or up to three days.  Rotate the balls a few times.

Day one, after resting uncovered overnight.

Put up a large kettle of salted water and bring it to a gentle boil.  Lower the gnudi ever so carefully into the water and remove them with a slotted spoon once they float to the top.  Well.  They floated to the top but then quickly disintegrated into mush and I was left with a gnudi the size of a small marble.  Fail.

Day two, after resting uncovered 24 hours.

More disintegrated gnudi mush.  Fail.

Day three, after resting a generous 36 hours.

The gnudi finally came out of the water intact.  Success!

I immediately set them into the brown butter with sage leaves and basted them.

We had our first edible sample.  After all the anticipation, on a scale of 1-10, I would rate them a 4.  I can’t imagine making a meal of these.

So I still had about 20 gnudi balls and I need to rethink this.  I happen to have wonton wrappers in the refrigerator so I decided to try cutting the balls in half and making them into ravioli.

Those cooked up beautifully.  Once they floated to the top I transferred them to the brown sage butter and basted them.

Much better.  But in this house we like things with tomato sauce much better.

Day 4, after resting 48 hours uncovered.

I made a red sauce with mushrooms, onion, garlic and pepper.  I cut the gnudi balls in half and made up a nice batch of ravioli.

I served them up with the red sauce and we devoured them.  This was the best use of the gnudi.  At least in this house.

I’m happy to have finally put these ingredients to good use.  Throwing away all that good cheese just seemed wrong.  Will I ever make gnudi again?  I will not.  I will make ravioli again and, quite honestly, the wonton wrappers worked great!  Almost as good as homemade pasta but a lot less work.

NOTE:  Save the rinds from the Parmesan cheese to use in soups and sauces.  They add great flavor!

Ravioli with Tomato and Garlic Gravy


Today was ravioli day.  Making homemade pasta is fun and rewarding and homemade tastes so much better.  Years ago I was a guest in the home of a first generation Italian family in Toronto.  Not being Italian I was unfamiliar with the number of courses that constituted a typical Italian meal.  We all sat around a table in a small dining room where the table and the fabric upholstered seats were all covered in heavy plastic.  The first course consisted of antipasto, a beautiful salad and lots of crusty bread.  The leftovers were cleared from the table and the homemade pasta arrived.  Spaghetti with a meat sauce.  And more bread.  It was wonderful.  I cleaned my plate and felt very satisfied and pretty full.  The table was cleared and in came the fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and more bread.  It was all I could do to eat a few more bites and listened to everyone say, “What’s the matter?  You don’t like the chicken?”  Who knew the pasta was an appetizer.  But I’m a quick study.  I learned to take much smaller portions.  And to never wear a skirt when the chairs are covered in plastic.

Today our ravioli was the entree.

The first step is making the pasta dough.


2 cups of AP flour

2 large eggs


I used a food processor.  Put the flour in and pulse it a few times. Whisk the eggs and slowly add them in with the processor running on low.

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The dough should come together in a ball.  If it looks like small pebbles add 1 tsp of water at a time.  If it is too wet and the dough is sticking to the sides add flour 1 T at a time.  Once the dough has come together in a ball remove it to a lightly floured work surface and knead it by hand until the dough is smooth, a couple minutes.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes.

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While the dough is resting prepare the filling.


2 T olive oil

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 cup sweet onion in a fine dice

1 cup mushrooms diced

2 cups fresh spinach chopped

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes diced

1 1/2 cups grated Asiago and Paramesan cheese


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In a heavy skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the garlic, onion and mushroom just until tender and fragrant.  Add the spinach and stir until wilted.  Remove from the heat.

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Stir in the diced sun dried tomatoes and the cheeses and your filling is ready to go.

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Divide the dough into six pieces.  Flatten into a disk and run through the pasta machine rollers.  Continue folding and running through the rollers until the dough is thin and shiny.  If, at any time, the dough is too sticky dust it lightly with flour.


Stretch the dough over the ravioli form.   Fill each indentation with about 1-2 tsp of filling.  Do not over fill.

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Put a second piece of dough over the filling and run a rolling pin over the top.  Invert and remove the ravioli.

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Cover the ravioli with a clean dish towel and prepare the sauce.


2 T olive oil

7-8 cloves of garlic chopped

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 pint diced tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

salt to taste

fresh basil


In a Dutch oven heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic until fragrant and tender.  Don’t brown the garlic.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and sun dried tomatoes.

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Stir in crushed tomatoes and basil.  Reduce heat and simmer.


Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the ravioli until tender.  Approximately 5 minutes.


Use a slotted spoon to remove the ravioli to a serving dish.  Ladle sauce over the pasta and serve with grated cheese.



NOTE:  You can fill your ravioli with a meat or a cheese filling.  You are only limited by your imagination.  I made 48 ravioli and froze half of them.  I put them in the freezer on a pizza tray and, once frozen, dropped them in a freezer bag for another day.  You don’t really need a ravioli form but I do think you need a pasta maker to roll the dough out properly.  I had extra dough and made linguini with it.

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Pasta Dough


It was a Sunday of dueling pasta machines!  My dear friend Jane and I decided to make homemade pasta.  We both have pasta machines but are both seriously amateur pasta makers.  We made three different pasta dough recipes and decided on a favorite.  They all tasted great.  One was just a little easier to work with.  It’s a messy job for sure and you have to be patient.  We had flour everywhere and little bits of pasta all over the floor but toward the end of the day we were feeling a real sense of mastery!  We made ravioli and had them for dinner.  It was amazing if I say so myself.

I’ll share a couple of the recipes.  The one we used for our ravioli and the one that was our favorite.  The two main ingredients in every recipe are flour and eggs.

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Ravoili Pasta Ingredients:

2 cups AP flour

1 tsp salt

3 large eggs plus 1 egg for egg wash

2 T olive oil

We used a mixer with a dough hook for this recipe.  Mix the flour and the salt.  With the mixer running add the eggs, one at a time.  Slowly add 1 T of the olive oil and continue to combine until the dough forms a ball.  Knead the dough on a floured surface until it becomes smooth and elastic.  About ten minues.  Divide into two balls and brush the surface of each ball with the remaining 1 T of olive oil.  Wrap in plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for at least thirty minutes.

Once the dough has rested start working your pasta machine.  The dough has to be run through nearly a dozen times.  Until it is nearly paper thin.

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Filling Ingredients:

1/2 cup spinach wilted in a little olive oil over medium heat

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

1/2 cup fresh grated parmigiano reggiano cheese

lemon zest


Allow the spinach to cool.  Blend the ingredients together in a food processor.  Put heaping teaspoons of filling about two inches apart on half a sheet of dough that has been brushed with an egg wash.  Fold the second half of the dough over like a blanket.  Using a pie crimper and a fork (it’s all we had) cut and seal each ravioli.  Put the completed ravioli on a baking sheet covered in parchment and lightly dusted with flour.  Set aside and allow them to dry slightly before cooking.


Bring a pot of salted water to a slow boil.  Cook the ravioli for a couple minutes after they float to the top.  If you have to cook in batches to prevent overcrowding keep the first batch warm.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve with the sauce of your choice.

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We served ours with a red sauce with spinach and sweet Italian sausage.  It was amazing.

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The second pasta dough recipe called for cake flour.  Interesting.  We made fettuccine and spaghetti noodles with this dough.  It was the easiest dough to work with.  It had more elasticity and went through the pasta machine with less difficulty.  Or maybe we were just getting a little better at the whole process.


2 1/2 cups AP flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

5 eggs

1 T olive oil

We prepared this dough in the food processor.

Pulse the dry ingredients together to combine.  Whisk the eggs and olive oil together.  While the processor is running slowly add the eggs to the dry ingredients and continue running until the dough forms a ball.  Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.  Divide the dough into quarters and wrap each in plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to rest at least 15 minutes before running it through the pasta maker.


Run the dough through the pasta maker 10-12 times dusting the dough with flour and folding each time.  Adjust the thickness down every couple of passes.  We decided to make spaghetti and fettuccine so after allowing the sheets to rest for 30 minutes we ran them through the cutting attachment.  Hang the pasta on a drying rack or cook immediately.  We had already enjoyed a dinner of ravioli so we dried our pasta.  That drying rack in the laundry room now has a second function!

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Pasta making 101.  We learned a lot!  And we had an absolutely wonderful time doing it.  We are no longer amateurs.  We are now pasta mavens!