Strozzapreti (strangle the priest)

September 15, 2009
2 Ratings
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This is one of my favourite recipes. The name itself makes me laugh while cooking, just can't imagine strangling a priest unless he ate all of the food! They are literally the filling of ricotta and spinach ravioli but without the pasta. They are typical from Florence, where they are also called GNUDI or Malfatti. They are subtle, light, creamy, delicious any time. The typical way to serve them is with sage butter but sometimes I fancy up the plate with a quick tomato sauce underneath, just for colour. To serve as an entrée 6 Gnudis per person should be enough. As a main dish, your're better off serving them in a big serving plate and 10 to 12 per person is more or less right. Just remember to have warm serving plates otherwise the Gnuddi and sauce get cold very quickly. Also you can make extra and freeze the Gnudi uncooked - great to have ready for a last minute meal! —Maria Teresa Jorge

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup spinach, cooked and very well drained
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons flour sifted
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 6 Sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup butter
  1. Drain the ricotta for 1/2 hour so it looses the excess water. If you can find sheep or buffalo ricotta it's much richer and creamier then cow's ricotta.
  2. Wash the spinach and cook it in a minimum amount of water. Drain, let cool and squeeze it dry until no water is left in the spinach (this is important otherwise the mixture becomes very watery and difficult to work and cook).
  3. Chop the spinach very finely.
  4. Lightly beat the 2 eggs.
  5. In a bowl add the ricotta, spinach, eggs, sifted flour, 2 tablespoons of parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg freshly grated and use a fork to fold the ingredients gently. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Line a tray with parchment paper.
  7. Lightly dust your hands with flour and make little balls 1 inch diameter, using a teaspoon to help measuring the Gnudi. Put the Gnudi on the parchment paper as you go along leaving some space in between each. At this point you can refrigerate them until it's time to cook them (or even freeze them).
  8. Melt the butter with the sage leaves and as soon as the butter starts sizzling remove from the heat but keep hot.
  9. Warm up a serving plate.
  10. In a large pot, bring water with a little salt to a boil and as soon as it reaches boiling point drop a few Gnudi at a time. As soon as they float up remove them with a strainer and put in the serving plate where you have put half the hot melted butter. Finish cooking all the gnudis, drizzle the remaining butter on top. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top and serve immidiately. (leave some for me!)
  11. EXTRA: To make the tomato sauce, use 3 very ripe tomatoes chopped up, skin and seeds included. Fry a roughly chopped onion with a garlic clove just until translucent, add the tomato, stir and cover. Let cook for 10 minutes. Put everything in a blender and mix until you have a very smooth velvety sauce. Season with salt and pepper and add a dash of sugar if the tomato sauce is a bit acidic. Drizzle a little tomato sauce on your plate, put the gnudis on top, drizzle the remaining sage butter, sprinkle the parmesan and Buon apetito!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ChefJune
  • dymnyno
  • NakedBeet
  • Federico_
  • lastnightsdinner

17 Reviews

Sharon April 30, 2014
I made way too many of these gnudi, so put some in the refrigerator after cooking. How do I reheat them?
MissSophieP March 15, 2011
Look of this dish is divine. I substituted broccoli so seemed very mild tasting. However generous amount of sage butter and marinara sauce compensated nicely.
Since used as appetizer, I decided my Fajita pan would be best to keep the Gnudi and sauces warm. Although without the white background, I lost some of the dish's effect.
ChefJune March 13, 2011
That's a confusing name. Strozzapreti are a specific shape of macaroni. But your dish looks delicious. I love Gnudi.
Sadassa_Ulna March 13, 2011
I found this on wikipedia; "Strozzapreti can also refer to a baked cheese and vegetable dish, sometimes called gnocchi. For example, seasoned spinach or chard is rolled into balls with ricotta cheese. These balls are large enough to choke a person if eaten whole."
ChefJune March 13, 2011
So interesting. I always love learning new stuff.
Nicholas D. March 21, 2020
Thanks so much for clearing this up for me, Sadassa_Ulna! These dumplings in a Gorgonzola sauce were my favorite dish at a restaurant that stopped serving them years ago. The fact that the name refers to a type of pasta pasta has confused me for years, and kept me from trying recipes for ricotta spinach gnocci. I am trying this recipe this weekend with the sage butter and hope it's at least close to what I remember.
dymnyno April 29, 2010
I love this recipe...I have made one very similar for many years, but yours is simpler and very delicious. I have found that they freeze very well, but, to cook them successfully, they need to thaw before dropping them into the hot water. After thawing they will cook beautifully and not fall apart when cooked. I miss your have been noticably absent from Food 52 lately!
NakedBeet February 3, 2010
Wow, oh my god, this is gorgeous! A real dinner party knock out. I love the Italians...they always have such great names for their food. I can imagine they are deliciously delicate.
Maria T. February 3, 2010
I tell you, this is one of the best dishes - light, tasty, elegant. Thanks for the comment.
Federico_ October 6, 2009
I made this last night. It turned out fabulous. Light, delicious, and distinctive. A wonderful first course.
Maria T. October 6, 2009
I am really happy that it came out well. If you dare to go a little further, make some pesto, dilute it with some water and drizzle over a green line. It looks really pretty.
Federico_ October 5, 2009
I haven't made this yet, but I can tell it's a wonderful recipe. I especially like the presentation in the photo, which looks something like a green, yellow and red segmented fish.
Maria T. October 6, 2009
Well, I didn't mean to make it look like a fish, it turned out quite weird! But I am not very good with plating!
lastnightsdinner September 24, 2009
Gorgeous. I used to make something similar with sheep's milk ricotta when we could get it. I'll try this version for sure.
Maria T. September 25, 2009
Sheep's milk ricotta is very nice, richer then cow's milk ricotta. Just remember to leave the ricotta in a colamder so it looses the extra water, otherwise the gnudis become too wet and you need extra flour to make the little gnudis. The least flour you use the better. Hope they come out good.
MrsWheelbarrow September 21, 2009
I made this as an appetizer for a party last night. Wonderfully light and airy and very pretty on the plate. My garden didn't have enough spinach yet, but there was a lot of mature arugula, so I used that instead, which gave it a nice bite. Thank you! The name is hilarious and my Italian dinner guests were giggling.
Maria T. September 24, 2009
I am really happy you liked it, it's one of my favourite dishes because it's so light.