Gnudi with Meat Sauce

The first time I heard about gnudi, I was ecstatic. And I was also shocked that I hadn’t come across them before, in spite of the many Italian cookbooks I own. It was maybe only five years ago I saw them being made on television, and I knew one day I’d make them. I just sadly forgot about them, until today.

Gnudi, simply stated, are the filling of ravioli. Or any filled pasta. No pasta involved. So they’re like the lazy man’s ravioli!

Today, mine are simple, utilizing the richness and unique texture of ricotta. But any ingredients can be included with the ricotta, just as you would to make a spinach-ricotta filling, or a pumpkin-ricotta filling.

They’re similar to gnocchi and spazele, except that there’s much less flour, which makes sense, since they are the filling and not the pasta. Here’s the recipe.


Gnudi with Meat Sauce

2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 ounces whole-milk ricotta, well drained*
3/4 cup loosely-packed, finely grated Parmesan
3/4 cup flour, plus extra

Begin by whisking the eggs, yolks, and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the ricotta and whisk well.

Then add the Parmesan and whisk until smooth.

Add the flour and fold into the ricotta mixture gently. If you feel more flour is needed – add more – but just a little at a time. The gnudi must end up tender.

Sprinkle a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with a light dusting of flour.


Typically, gnudi are shaped into quenelles, which are beautiful ovoids. Unfortunately, even if I could make these forms, which requires two spoons, I wouldn’t be fast enough to get through the gnudi batter before the water completely evaporated. So I opted for a little cookie scoop.

Dip the scoop in water, tap, then scoop up the gnudi.

Place them on the floured sheet, and then sprinkle a little more flour over the top of the gnudi, using a fine sieve.

Once you have finished with all the batter, let the gnudi sit for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, get a large pot of water boiling on the stove.

As I do with spazele, I always test one to get the timing right. In this case, my little 1″ round gnudi took 5 minutes to cook. You don’t want them raw in the middle, but you don’t want them to be like rubber.

As with spazele, the gnudi will drop to the bottom of the pot, and about halfway through cooking they will come to the surface. When they’re cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon, and place them on a paper towel-lined platter.

Once you know the timing of the gnudi, make them in batches until the batter is no more.


I served these with a meat sauce (recipe below), but because I didn’t want the meat sauce to smother the delicate gnudi, I placed the sauce on the bottom of the bowl, topped it with the warm gnudi, and sprinkled on a little Parmesan.


These ricotta-based gnudi are like soft little pillows of goodness.

I would normally not pair the gnudi with such a heavy sauce, but my husband isn’t fond of meatless red sauce. Just like with gnocchi and spazele, the gnudi could be simply tossed in browned butter.


* I only buy whole-milk ricotta, and I always let it drain on paper towels overnight or at least for 12 hours. It just makes the ricotta thicker and creamier. It’s amazing how much water comes out.


Meat Sauce
Olive oil
Finely chopped onion or shallots
Minced garlic
Ground Italian sausage
Canned tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves

By Published On: November 3rd, 201437 Comments on Gnudi with Meat Sauce

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Kristi Kaiser November 3, 2014 at 8:10 AM - Reply

    This looks really good Mimi! It looks like a great comfort food dish! Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen

    • chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 7:01 AM - Reply

      Definitely comforting, and a challenge to not overeat!!!

  2. nowathome November 3, 2014 at 8:14 AM - Reply

    I have never heard of these before! Will most certainly try it!

    • chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 7:01 AM - Reply

      They’re definitely worth the little bit of bother!

  3. sallybr November 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM - Reply

    Never made gnudi, but it’s one of those culinary projects in my mental list to do one day…hopefully sooner rather than later

    yours turned out absolutely perfect!

  4. dianeskitchentable November 3, 2014 at 10:52 AM - Reply

    Those are beautiful and I’d never heard of them before. I love your description – the lazy man’s ravioli – that would be for me. I’ll definitely take you up on that recommendation of using the cookie scoop. For some reason I can’t see myself trying the maneuver batter on a couple of spoons.

    • chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 7:02 AM - Reply

      I can make one quennelle if I have about 5 minutes. Not really handy when you have a large bowl of batter to get boiling!

  5. lapadia November 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM - Reply

    I’m with Suzanne, I’ve always wanted to make this, your recipe, step by step is an excellent place to start! Thanks for sharing…

  6. Conor Bofin November 3, 2014 at 1:13 PM - Reply

    A new one on me Mimi. Very nice indeed.

  7. Heather @ Sweet Precision November 3, 2014 at 1:27 PM - Reply

    You’ve introduced me to a new food yet again! Considering that I looove gnocchi, I can’t wait to give gnudi a try!

    • chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 6:59 AM - Reply

      So similar, but it you can imagine gnocchi even lighter – that’s gnudi!

  8. lulu November 3, 2014 at 5:56 PM - Reply

    You have introduced me to something that sounds absolutely wonderful.

    • chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 6:58 AM - Reply

      Good! I don’t know why it took me so long to discover them!

  9. Johnny / Kitschnflavours November 3, 2014 at 6:20 PM - Reply

    That’s my favourite part of ravioli. You can keep the pasta. How come I’d never thought to make the filling by itself?! I’ll have to try these. Partly as I’ve just made a pot of tomato sauce (with veggie mince – sounds horrid!) for the first time in months. These, and mushrooms, would be perfect for it.

    • chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 6:58 AM - Reply

      That just sounds bloody delicious! I know, it’s really a brilliant idea.

  10. Nancy Brazil (@MsPullThatCork) November 3, 2014 at 7:58 PM - Reply

    Glad to know what gnudi are. They look delicious. I’m afraid I would eat them without the meat sauce…brown butter sage might be delicious too!

    • chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 6:57 AM - Reply

      I did eat a few just plain as well. And yes, nothing beats browned butter! Agreed!

  11. DellaCucinaPovera November 4, 2014 at 12:56 AM - Reply

    Now this is dangerous… Lazy and no carbs :)

  12. Elaine @ foodbod November 4, 2014 at 1:06 AM - Reply

    Wow! They look amazing, completely new to me :)

  13. StefanGourmet November 4, 2014 at 3:22 AM - Reply

    Great post Mimi! I know these as gnocchi or as “ravioli nudi” (naked ravioli). Nice to learn they are also called gnudi. Google told me that’s the Tuscan name for them. Love the combination with meat sauce.

    • chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 6:55 AM - Reply

      Isn’t that funny, cause I’ve only seen the word gnudi. Either way, they’re pretty fabulous!

  14. chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 6:57 AM - Reply

    Hahahaha! It’s really true!

  15. chef mimi November 4, 2014 at 7:04 AM - Reply

    They’re not difficult at all – very similar to making spazele, but lighter in texture because of so much less flour. You just can’t be heavy handed.

  16. Phil @foodfrankly November 4, 2014 at 10:05 AM - Reply

    Ditto, Mimi I only found out about these recently (a Jamie Oliver show I seem to remember). Yours looks great – a perfect winter dish.

    • chef mimi November 5, 2014 at 10:43 AM - Reply

      They’re very easy, especially if you’re used to handling fresh pasta dough.

  17. chef mimi November 5, 2014 at 10:42 AM - Reply

    I hope that happens fast!!!

  18. chef mimi November 5, 2014 at 10:44 AM - Reply

    Thank you Bridget!

  19. Choc Chip Uru November 6, 2014 at 1:11 AM - Reply

    I have never tried gnudi before, I am sure my brother would enjoy it! Looks fantastic :D

    Choc Chip Uru

    • chef mimi November 8, 2014 at 7:56 AM - Reply

      Thank you. If you like ravioli, I’m pretty sure you’d like gnudi as well!

  20. chef mimi November 10, 2014 at 5:47 PM - Reply

    And the recipe is so easy, too!

  21. proyb November 13, 2014 at 9:35 AM - Reply

    I’m going to try this. Thanks for the new recipe/idea! I usually make Gnocchi which is a little different :)

    • chef mimi November 13, 2014 at 9:55 AM - Reply

      They’re just as fabulous, but a little softer, as you can imagine!

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