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Spinach ricotta dumplings fried in sage butter

Spinach Ricotta Dumplings (Gnudi) with Sage Butter

A not-so-well-known Tuscan delicacy, Gnudi are delicious spinach ricotta dumplings. They are soft and light on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside. Fried in sage butter and sprinkled with Parmesan shavings, they are the perfect match for Tuscan wines such as Chianti Classico or Brunello di Montalcino. A must-try pairing!

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 1x



For the Gnudi

14 ounces (400 g) of fresh spinach

2 tablespoons (30 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1 and ½ cups (400 g) of Ricotta cheese

2 free-range eggs

1 cup (100 g) of Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (plus extra, shaved, to serve)

½ cup (60 g) of all-purpose flour

½  teaspoon of sea salt

⅛ teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper

For the Sage Butter

4 tablespoons (60 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons (50 g) of unsalted butter

24 fresh sage leaves

¼ teaspoon of sea salt 


Making the Gnudi dough

  1. Start by thoroughly rinsing the spinach under cold water. Then, in a wok or a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Transfer the rinsed spinach to the wok (no need to spin-dry or pat dry, add it wet), along with the crushed garlic, and sauté for 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer the cooked spinach to a fine mesh strainer or a sieve. Remove the excess water by applying strong pressure on the cooked spinach with a spatula. Try to remove as much water as you can (it will be easier to shape the gnudi).
  4. Roughly chop the cooked spinach and add them to a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the ricotta, eggs, flour, grated parmesan, salt, and freshly cracked pepper.
  6. Using a wooden spoon (or the flat beater tool if using a KitchenAid stand mixer), mix the ingredient until well combined.
  7. The resulting mixture is very soft, this is normal!

Boiling the Gnudi

  1. Boil a large pot of well-salted water.
  2. Using your hands, gently form a soft ball of dough (around 1,5 inches / 4cm large) and immediately deep it into the boiling water. The dough will bind together as soon as it enters into contact with the boiling water. Repeat the operation to fill the pot with gnudi (try not to overcrowd the pot). You will need to make several cooking batches.
  3. When the gnudi come floating back to the surface, cook them for another 2 minutes.
  4. Using a skimming ladle, strain them out of the pot and transfer them onto a plate.
  5. Repeat the process until all the gnudi are cooked.

Frying the Gnudi and making the Sage Butter

  1. You will need to fry the Gnudi in two different batches. Ideally, use two non-stick frying pans at the same time to serve the Gnudi hot. It is important not to overcrowd the pan, to allow for an optimum result.
  2. In each large non-stick frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons (45 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons (25 g) of unsalted butter over high heat.
  3. Add half of the gnudi in each pan, season with salt and pan fry them until golden. Stir from time to time to ensure that they are evenly golden. Frying the gnudi takes time, it is normal as the gnudi are quite large. Make sure to wait for a beautiful golden color before removing them from the pan.
  4. When they are golden, add 12 sage leaves per pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the sage is golden and crispy.
  5. Plate immediately. Drizzle some extra butter sauce on top, along with crispy sage leaves and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. Enjoy with a glass of Chianti Classico!

Nim Keys

  1. I really recommend using a non-stick frying pan for pan frying the Gnudi. It might overwise stick to the bottom of the pan and fall apart. 
  2. A common version of Gnudi in Tuscany is made with Cavalo Nero, a local variety of cabbage. It is super delicious too! Feel free to switch spinach with Cavalo Nero, Swiss Chards, or Kale.
  3. Thoroughly straining the excess water out of the spinach will prevent the Gnudi dough from being too wet and runny.
  4. Sage and butter sauce is called “Buro et Salvia” in Italian. It is a delicious, easy, quick, and super versatile sauce that can accompany gnocchi or short pasta such as Penne, Conchiglie, or stuffed pasta such as Tortellini or Agnolotti.
  • Author: Ninon
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 452
  • Sugar: 0.6 g
  • Sodium: 721 mg
  • Fat: 36.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.6 g
  • Protein: 17.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 128.3 mg

Keywords: gnudi, spinach ricotta dumplings, sage butter