Strozzapreti (strangle the priest)

September 15, 2009
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

  • Serves 6
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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!

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