Spinach and ricotta gnudi or ravioli gnudi are essentially “naked” ravioli without the “clothing” of the dough. This traditional Tuscan dish is usually prepared with spinach, ricotta and eggs; but my vegan version is made without dairy or eggs. The trick to keeping the ravioli intact is to keep the ricotta mixture in the refrigerator for a while after preparing it so the mixture can firm up. Then they are formed into rustic shaped balls and placed into boiling water. Alternatively, you can place them on a baking sheet and bake. It’s not the traditional method but you’ll basically get the same result. I suggest the combination of the traditional boiling method and then finishing the ravioli in the oven for a few minutes to firm them up a bit more. Either way, these are fun and delicious!
Makes approximately one dozen ravioli.
First make your cashew ricotta. Drain the cashews and add them to a high speed blender or food processor, along with the salt, garlic, lemon juice and water. Process until it has the consistency of ricotta; but don’t over process or it will be more like a cream consistency. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use. Meanwhile, add the spinach to a hot skillet and cover to let the spinach wilt. Lower the heat and toss the spinach until wilted. Remove from heat to let cool. Once the spinach is cooled, pat dry any excess water and transfer onto a cutting board. Chop the spinach into small pieces and add to the ricotta. Then add in the parmesan, nutmeg, flour and lemon zest. Stir to combine and place in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour, or in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare the ravioli. Take about 1 tablespoon size of the filling, forming them into small, roughly shaped balls, then lightly dredge the ravioli in the flour, shaking off the excess flour. Add a few of the ravioli at a time to the boiling water. They will rise to the top when done, where you can scoop them out gently with a spider utensil or slotted spoon. You’ll need to do these in batches as not to crowd the pot. Place the cooked ravioli on a paper towel lined large plate or cutting board. If they are firm enough as is, you can enjoy them served on a plate of marinara sauce immediately.
Once you have finished cooking all of the ravioli, I recommend placing them on a parchment lined cookie sheet just to firm them up a bit more. This step is not necessary but I liked this method better. I found that a higher temperature for just a few minutes worked best. Heat them in 425F oven for about 5 minutes. Then remove gently with a spatula when finished and serve over the sauce. Alternatively, you can skip the boiling all together and just place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. For this method, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Serve over sauce, sprinkle with more parmesan and garnish with some fresh basil.