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Ravioli Gnudi ©

March 2, 2013








When I was in my early twenties I moved to Italy for five years to learn Italian and study Interior Design. I lived in the beautiful city of Florence,  the centre of art and design and it was not long before I entered the wonderful world of Italian Cooking.

Lectures always ended in time for lunch and just down the street from my Academia was a family run “Trattoria”…….By 2.30 p.m.this was a welcome break from drawing and the torrent of culture, so friends and I would invariably end up at the “Trattoria del Teatro,” where each day there was a delectable “Piatto del Giorno,” and this was the beginning of my getting to know Italian Cuisine.

When I left Florence, the architect who I had been working for, presented me with a charming Italian Cookery book and I have kept it with me all this time, often delving into it and enjoying the lovely drawings and recipes. here below I share with you one of my favourites.

Ravioli Gnudi .



Ravioli Gnudi ©




Ravioli Gnudi ©




The drawing may have you thinking several greens are included, but all though I am sure they would add flavour this recipe clearly states only the use of spinach.

“Ravioli  Gnudi” get their name from the fact that the recipe is just the stuffing with out the pasta square around it and this particular recipe is a speciality of Arezzo. A perfect combination of spinach, eggs, flour, nutmeg, ricotta and parmesan cheese, beautifully covered with tomato sauce.



Ravioli Gnudi ©

Easy, even if a little time consuming, but well worth the trouble!

Just the recipe to make when you have an hour to spare!





6 Persons





650 g fresh spinach

250 g Ricotta cheese

130 g flour

3 egg yolks

150 g Parmesan or Pecorino freshly grated

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 small onion finely grated

50 g butter



Tomato Sauce

Either freshly grated tomato, if it is summer time with salt


Tomato sauce made with:

2-4 cloves garlic

2 small chilli

600 g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tbs olive oil

1 tsp salt

Extra parmesan for garnish



1. Choose 700g of nice fresh tender leaves of spinach from your local market.

2. Soak spinach for five minutes in a large basin of water. Taking each individual spinach plant, remove any damaged or yellow leaves and cut off root with a sharp knife, leaving the leaves held together by the base of the stem.

3. Wash each spinach heart under running water, to get rid of any mud that might be lodged in between the leaves.

4. Place in a second bowl of salted water and leave another five minutes. The salt causes any bugs to release their grip and float to the surface. Change the water  until there is no earth left in the bottom of your bowl, This is very important and can take at least 3-4 changes of water, depending on how muddy your spinach is, but you definitely don’t want any crunchiness in your end result! Drain briefly.

5. Using a large bag weigh out your spinach to 650 g and place in a large saucepan. Add a sprinkling of salt, place the lid on and allow it it cook over a medium heat, in just the water that remains in between the leaves after draining. There is no need to add any additional water, but keep an eye on it towards the end of the cooking time, that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of your saucepan. 15-20 minutes should be enough.

7. Remove spinach from heat and place on chopping board. You will notice in the photograph, nearly all the water has evaporated.

8. Using a large cooks knife, finely chop your spinach.

9.  Measure and prepare the rest of your ingredients. Melt the butter in a clean saucepan and saute the onion for two minutes over a medium heat. Add your spinach and toss for five minutes. Remove from the heat and place the spinach in a large bowl and leave to slightly cool.

10. Start adding the rest of your ingredients to the spinach, ending up with the flour, which you should sieve in gradually, stirring all the time, so that no lumps form. Taste for salt and leave to cool.

11. Once the mixture has cooled, it is easier to work into small balls or oblongs 2 cm in length and 1 cm in width. It is important to keep them small, so that they cook quickly and thus the spinach does not over cook and remains a nice bright green.

12. Place on a baking tray and cover with cling film until ready to cook and eat.

13. In the mean time prepare your tomato sauce. Either grate fresh summer tomatoes and add a little salt, or alternatively, make a tasty tomato sauce, by gently frying sliced garlic and dried chilli in a tbs olive oil and before they begin to colour, add 600 g chopped tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil, add a good teaspoon of salt and simmer until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. 15-20 minutes, lid off. Ideally pass through a sieve, this way you get a velvety sauce with no skin or seeds and it coats the Ravioli beautifully. Important to this basic and very tasty tomato sauce, taught to me by dear Signora Egilda, is to add plenty of salt to really bring the flavour out and knock the acidity and sweetness of the tomatoes. If you put very little salt, it simply is not nearly as tasty.

14. Once your guests are gathered, bring to the boil a wide saucepan of salted simmering water and add your ravioli 10 at a time, so that the water does not go off the boil.They will sink to the bottom, but after about five minutes, they will pop up to the surface and then they are cooked!

15. Place on kitchen paper in a warmed serving dish. This is important as you don’t want and water from the cooking diluting your sauce. Once all the ravioli are cooked, carefully remove the double sheet of kitchen paper and cover in hot tomato sauce.

16. Finally, just before placing on the table grate with extra parmesan and serve immediately!





Ravioli Gnudi ©

This is what you are aiming for.







Ravioli Gnudi ©

Wash heart under running tap.










Ravioli Gnudi ©

Chop spinach finely along with stems. If there is an excess water drain in colander.


Ravioli Gnudi ©

Gather together all your ingredients.


Ravioli Gnudi ©

Nutmeg freshly ground is the best!












Ravioli Gnudi ©

Roll into oblongs about 2 cm long 1 cm wide.



Ravioli Gnudi ©

Cover with cling film until ready to be cooked. These can be made several hours before and stored in fridge.










Ravioli Gnudi ©

Cover with hot tomato sauce.



Ravioli Gnudi ©

Grate with plenty of parmesan.


Ravioli Gnudi ©

And this is the final result!





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