Saturday 18 April 2020


Another week in isolation, another little Friday cooking project! This time making these lovely light and flavourful Italian spinach, courgette and ricotta dumplings (also called gnudi). They do take a bit of time to make and prep, don't skip the draining the ricotta part or regret it later, and a bit of labour is also involved, I adored making the tomato sauce from scratch with not a tinned tomato in sight, but the end result was quite amazing! So fresh and way lighter than a plate of pasta, plus all ingredients are pretty easy to get or are already in your kitchen cupboard so get making on these, I for one loved calling these little balls of joy my own!

Serves 4


For the dumplings
  • 500g ricotta
  • 225g courgette, coarsely grated
  • 250g spinach leaves
  • 65g grated parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1½ tsp flaky, or ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 50g butter, to serve

For the sauce
  • 8 large ripe tomatoes (or 2 tins drained plum tomatoes)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp red-wine vinegar
  • 1 big handful basil leaves

  • Drain the ricotta for at least 30 minutes to remove as much excess water as possible.
  • Put the courgettes in a large sieve or colander suspended over a bowl. 
  • Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and blanch the spinach for one to two minutes, until it has collapsed. 
  • Pour the spinach water over the grated courgettes to wilt it, then leave both vegetables to drain in the sieve. 
  • When the vegetables are cool enough to touch, squeeze out the water, dry on kitchen paper, chop finely and put in a bowl. 
  • Add the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, flour, half the salt and plenty of black pepper, and mix well with a fork or wooden spoon and adjust the seasoning, to taste.
  • Dust your hands and a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper with flour. 
  • Mould the dough into golfballs – keep dusting your hands in more flour or the dough will stick to you. 
  • Lay the balls out on the tray, then refrigerate while you make the sauce.
  • Score the top of each tomato with an X and cover with boiling water from the kettle. Leave for 30 seconds, then drain. Peel the skin and roughly chop the flesh.
  • Gently fry the garlic in the oil in a small pan over a medium-low heat until it begins to turn pale gold, then add the chopped tomatoes and vinegar, to stop the garlic burning. 
  • Season, simmer for 10-15 minutes until thick, then tear in the basil. Add a few pinches of brown sugar if the tomatoes taste flat.
  • Once the sauce is ready, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. When the water is simmering, cook a few dumplings at a time until they float to the surface, then transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
  • Once the dumplings are all cooked, heat a wide frying pan over a medium heat and melt the butter. Fry the dumplings in the butter until slightly browned.
  • Spoon the warm tomato sauce on to plates or shallow bowls, then top with the dumplings. Grate over a little extra parmesan and serve.

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