Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi Recipe for Italian Cuisine 

Italian cuisine is a vast and varied topic, with many different dishes that can be cooked using ingredients from the sea or land. One of the most beloved types of Italian food is pasta, which comes in all shapes and sizes to please every taste. Gnudi are one type of pasta dish that you may not have tried before. The word gnudi means “naked” in Italian because these balls are typically made without eggs like other types of dough-based pastas.

This Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi Recipe is perfect for serving as an appetizer at your next dinner party, or combine with a glass of mocktail when getting together with friends!

How to make a perfect Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi 

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

This Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi Recipe is perfect for serving as an appetizer at your next dinner party or get-together with friends! The spinach adds a delicious nutty flavor to the dish, while the ricotta cheese provides a strong dairy taste that balances out the earthy tones of the vegetable.

Eating these balls will make you feel like you’re eating something so much more decadent than just some pasta– they have been called “little pillows” because their texture when mixed from these two ingredients is light and fluffy. If you want to take this recipe in another direction, try adding fresh herbs like parsley for an extra burst of flavor! 


  • 32 oz container, part skim Ricotta cheese 
  • 1 1/4 cup flour, plus about the same amount for rolling the Gnudi 
  • 2/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese divided 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 cup of thawed chopped frozen spinach 
  • 1/8 tsp of nutmeg 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper 
  • For the Béchamel 
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp of butter 
  • 2 Tbsp flour 
  • 2 cups milk, (I used low fat) 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 tsp pepper 

Step by step Cooking Instructions 

Serves: about 18 Gnudi (so you will need to double this recipe if serving more) 

Steps for Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi Recipe: 

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

  1. Preheat oven to 425° 
  2. In a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese with the egg. Add in spinach, salt pepper and nutmeg. Mix until blended well then add flour on top and knead dough into ball shape very tightly between your hands as best you can so it does not stick to anything or anyone touching it. If the mixture is too sticky, just use extra flour when rolling out balls of dough onto parchment paper sprinkled lightly with flour 
  3. Roll them all one at a time until they are slightly larger than ping pong ball size 
  4. Pour olive oil in a large pan and heat over medium high temperature (or until the balls start to sizzle) 
  5. Drop about five or six gnudi into hot oil at one time, turning them every 15 seconds for about four minutes total this will crisp up around edges and cook through. Remove from the frying pan with tongs onto paper towels to blot off excess oil then transfer back to parchment paper sprinkled lightly with flour while still on top of each other so they do not stick together as you fry more rounds 
  6. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese if desired before serving along side tomato sauce or any type of pasta such as linguine, spaghetti or rigatoni etc… 

Tips and tricks 

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

  • Always use a ricotta cheese that is not too moist or soft, such as fresh Ricotta. If you are using wetter types of ricottas then it’s best to drain off the excess water before cooking them in oil 
  • The spinach should be finely chopped and sautéed until wilted down 
  • Gnudi can also be served with Pesto sauce if desired which will add even more flavor! The pesto can either go inside each gnudi prior to frying or on top of individual servings once plated (or both!) 
  • If adding Parmesan Cheese for topping, always grate rather than shredding since this will give better texture when crisping up during frying process 
  • Different shapes of pasta dough can be used for Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi, such as fettuccine or tagliatelle 
  • When boiling the gnudis before frying them, they will double in size approximately. They should not touch one another while cooking since this will result in sticking together when fried 
  • The best oil to fry with is grape seed oil which has a high smoking point so it doesn’t burn too easily during the process 
  • If you are pan frying these instead of deep frying them, make sure you use enough olive oil on medium low heat. You should cook each side about 30 seconds per side then remove from skillet immediately once cooked through. 


A final thought on Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi: don’t forget to serve them with a light, fresh sauce. The most popular sauces for this dish are spinach pesto or tomato basil; find the one that suits your taste buds best! Happy cooking! 


Jennifer Glover