500 g (17 oz ) frozen spinach, thawed
500 g (2 cups) fresh, full-fat ricotta, drained
30 g (heaped ¼ cup) finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, plus extra to serve
150 g (1 cup) plain flour (ideally Tipo 00), plus extra for dusting
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
80 g (3 oz) butter
1 large handful sage leaves
To ensure they don’t break up, it’s really important to let the gnudi chill before cooking. Chilling time: at least 1 hour
1. Place the spinach in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a food processor and pulse three or four times to finely chop. Add the ricotta, egg, parmesan, nutmeg, 1 tbsp of flour and a pinch of salt and pepper and pulse two or three times until the mixture just comes together and forms a sticky dough.
2. Line a tray with baking paper and dust with a little flour. Tip the remaining flour into a shallow dish and, with lightly floured hands and using a tbsp as a rough guide, shape portions of the dough into round gnudi (dumplings). Gently toss in the flour to completely coat, then roll into balls and arrange on the prepared tray in a single layer. Place in the fridge to firm up for 1 hour or, even better, overnight
3. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium–low heat until it starts to foam. Continue to cook until the butter browns slightly and smells nutty (noisette stage), then add the sage and remove from the heat.
4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a gentle boil. (If the water is rapidly boiling, the delicate gnudi will break up.) Add the gnudi in two batches and poach for 2–3 minutes until they rise to the surface. Remove the gnudi with a slotted spoon and arrange five or six on each serving plate. Drizzle over the butter, add a few sage leaves and serve with a sprinkle of extra nutmeg and parmesan.
• The gnudi can be made a day or two ahead. Simply cover the gnudi on the tray with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. Or they can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month. If freezing, place a piece of baking paper between each layer of gnudi. When ready to eat, plunge the gnudi straight from the freezer into a saucepan of simmering salted water.
• These gnudi are also great with a roasted tomato sauce.
• I’ve also tested these with fine polenta instead of flour and it works really well. So all my gluten-intolerant friends out there can enjoy these, too.