Recipe for spinach and ricotta gnudi or dumplings, served in a delicious chicken and herb broth


For the chicken broth: (serves 6)
1,5 litres (6 cups) water
400 g frozen chicken necks, thawed
1 large knob of ginger, sliced
2 cups sliced leeks
3 celery sticks, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, peeled & sliced
a handful of parsley stalks
1 clove garlic, sliced
1-2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
salt & pepper

For the gnudi/dumplings:
15 ml olive oil
200g baby spinach leaves
450-500g ricotta cheese (about 2 cups)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (125 ml) finely grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano Reggiano, or Grana Padano) plus more for serving
1/2 cup (125 ml) all-purpose flour plus more
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley (optional)

To assemble:
1 batch chicken broth
a cup of finely chopped mixed vegetables (leeks, celery, mushrooms)
1-2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 small clove garlic, finely grated
a handful of parsley leaves
1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
cooked gnudi (about 4 per person)
finely grated parmesan cheese

How to

For the chicken broth:
Place all the ingredients for the broth in a medium stock pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and cover with a lid, then simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat and leave to infuse for another 30 minutes, uncovered, then strain through a sieve. (Keep the solids for processing with your next soup or use in your next stew.)

For the gnudi/dumplings:
In a large pan, heat the olive oil and sauteé the spinach over medium heat for about 5 minutes until just wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, add the ricotta, egg and yolk, salt, pepper, parmesan and flour.

Roughly chop the cooked spinach, then add it with the parsley to the rest of the ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon until it starts to form a coarse-looking ball. Lightly dust a rimmed baking tray with flour.

Using 2 large dessert spoons, shape heaped tablespoonfuls of dough into football shapes, then place on the floured tray and dust with a little more flour (you should have about 30).

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Carefully add the gnudi, then cook for 4 minutes until cooked through and tender (gnudi will quickly float to the surface; continue cooking or they will be gummy in the centre).

Using a slotted spoon, remove gnudi from water and divide among bowls.

To assemble:
Bring the broth to a slow simmer. Add the finely chopped vegetables, ginger, garlic, parsley & chickpeas, then remove from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls with the freshly cooked gnudi, then top with grated parmesan. Serve immediately.


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Recipe courtesy of The Food Fox. Visit the blog for more delicious recipes. Recipe copyright – Ilse van der Merwe. Photo copyright – Tasha Seccombe.