Looking for a vegetarian dish that packs lots of flavor, well look no further. It’s been ages since I made these and they are just as good as I remember. Think spinach ravioli without the pasta wrapper. Once again I was a little concerned that they might fall apart in the boiling water, but rest assured they didn’t. The nudi are a perfect combination of leafy greens and creamy cheese. They are delicate, incredibly light and a simple tomato sauce is all you need to finish the dish.
Do you know Domenica Marchetti? She’s the author of a variety of cookbooks on Italian cuisine and this recipe is from her The Glorious Vegetables of Italy. I have quite a few of her books and have had great success with everything I’ve made from them.
Spinach and Chard Nudi
1 pound swiss chard, stems removed and reserved for another use, leaves shredded
8 ounces fresh spinach leaves
12 ounces fresh sheep’s milk or well-drained cow’s milk ricotta cheese
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup flour, plus more for coating the nudi
3 cups of your favorite simple tomato sauce, heated to a simmer
Rinse the shredded chard leaves in cold water. Place the leaves, with the water still clinging to them, into a large saucepan, cover, and set the pan over medium heat. Cook the chard, tossing it from time to time, for 12 to 15 minutes, until tender and most of the water has evaporated. Turn off the heat, and using tongs, transfer the chard to a colander and let it cool. Rinse out the saucepan and return it to the stove.
Rinse the spinach leaves in cold water. Place the leaves, with the water still clinging to them, into the saucepan, cover, and set the pan over medium heat. Cook the spinach, tossing it from time to time with tongs, for 5 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat and transfer to the colander with the chard to cool.
When the greens are cool enough to handle, squeeze as much excess water from them as you can. Transfer them to a cutting board and chop finely. You should end up with about 1 packed cup of freshly chopped greens weighing between 7 and 8 ounces.
Place the greens in a large bowl and add the ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a generous grinding of pepper, the nutmeg, the Parmigiano, and the egg yolks. Mix together gently but thoroughly. Sprinkle in the flour, and gently fold it into the mixture.
Pour some flour into a small shallow bowl. Have ready a large rimmed baking sheet lined with waxed paper or dusted with flour. With your hands, pinch off a piece of the greens mixture, form it into a ball about the size of a chestnut, roll it in the flour, and set it on the baking sheet. Continue to form the nudi until you have used all of the greens mixture.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat and salt generously. Carefully drop in 8 to 10 nudi. Within 1 or 2 minutes, they will begin to float to the surface. Continue to cook the nudi for another 5 to 6 minutes, until they have floated to the surface and are puffed up. With a large skimmer, remove the nudi and transfer them to a warmed serving bowl.
Spoon about 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the nudi and mix very gently. Continue to cook the nudi until you have cooked them all. When they have all been added to the serving bowl, spoon additional sauce over the top and sprinkle with Parmigiano. Serve immediately.