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Baked Gnudi, Tuscan Ricotta and Spinach Dumplings

Gnudi are one of the classic dishes of the Tuscan Food Tradition. This is my mum Maria Rosa's recipe that use to bake Gnudi in the oven with a tomato or ragout sauce.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian recipes
Keyword: Baked, Primo Piatto
Servings: 4
Author: Nicola Bandini


For Gnudi Dumplings

  • 16 oz Fresh Ricotta Cheese 500 grams. A mix of sheep and cow's ricotta
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3,5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese 100 grams
  • 7 oz Spinach 200 grams if boiled and squeezed, otherwise 800 grams if fresh
  • 1 pince Marjoram or more, to your licking
  • 1 pince Grated Nutmeg
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Half Orange Zest

For Tomato Sauce

  • 1 Shallot or 1/2 onion
  • 8,80 Tomato Passata Sauce 250 g
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 8,80 White Sauce (Besciamella) 250 grams ready made
  • Grated Nutmeg to taste
  • milk to taste
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil


  • First of all, prepare all ingredients.
  • Drain the ricotta of the whey. If you need, help yourself with a fork and a strainer.
  • If you use fresh spinach, boil them in salted water for about 8/10 minutes. After that, squeeze them very well and chop finely with a knife or scissors.
  • Chop the shallot or the onion for the tomato sauce
  • Preheat your oven: to 180° degrees C (350° degrees F) if fan oven, otherwise 190° degrees C (375° degrees F) if conventional oven.

Make the Sauce

  • In a pan, heat the olive oil and then add the chopped onion.
  • Brown the onion and add the tomato passata. Season with salt and pepper and let the sauce cook for about 10 minutes.
  • In a small pot, warm the Besciamella/white sauce (ready-made) with a sip of milk until it boils. Develop the flavor with a pinch of salt and grated nutmeg.
  • Off the heat and mix the tomato sauce with Besciamella sauce.

Make Gnudi dumplings

  • Put the drained ricotta and squeezed spinach in a large bowl.
  • Break two eggs in the dough and add the zest of 1/2 orange.
  • Then add the rest of ingredients: marjoram, 50 grams (1,75 oz) of grated Parmesan cheese, a generous pinch of grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper to your liking.
    a large bowl to put all ingredients to make Gnudi
  • Mix everything well with a fork or a spoon. Taste the flavor and add more salt and pepper if needed.
    the mixture to prepare Gnudi
  • Take a rectangular oven dish and create a first layer of tomato sauce.
  • To make the round-shaped Gnudi, you need a bit of water to dampen your hands. Keep a small bucket with water close to you.
  • Take a tablespoon of ricotta and spinach mixture and make a ball with your wet hands. Place Gnudi balls on the oven dish, well-spaced one from each other, until you fill all the space. You should be able to get approx. 20 balls.
    Gnudi ready to bake
  • Cover balls with another generous layer of tomato sauce. To finish, sprinkle with abundant Parmesan cheese (50 grams, 1,75 oz, or even more, to your liking).
  • Put in the oven and bake for about 15/20 minutes until parmesan cheese melts and browns.
  • Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. 4 or 5 balls for each person.