One of my favorite cooks (after Julia, who is my idol) is Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. She is an Italian cook like no other I’ve ever seen. Tim and I had the pleasure of eating in one of her restaurants in New York, Felidia.





The food was so wonderful, the service so fabulous and the atmosphere so cozy that you either didn’t notice or didn’t care that dinner for two cost a weeks salary.

Every now and then she’ll do something on her show that makes me want to make whatever it was immediately. Today was one of those days. She made something called “Gnudi” which means naked dumpling. It’s like a good ravioli stuffing without the pasta.




  • 1 lb fresh ricotta, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dry spinach puree – (very dry)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • ¼ cup flour
  • A generous amount of freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling.

Blend all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Test the consistency of the dough by scooping up a heaping tablespoon, forming it into a ball and rolling it in flour. Drop it into the boiling water. If it does not hold its shape and rise to the surface within a minute, add more bread crumbs to your dough. When you’ve got the right consistency, shape all of the dough into balls the size of golf balls, roll them lightly in flour, and lay them out on a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Drop the Gnudi gently one by one into the boiling water and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, until they rise to the top and come to a rolling boil. To test for doneness, scoop out a ball and press it with your fingers: the dumpling dough when cooked should bounce back.

Butter and Fresh Sage Sauce

  • 1 to 1 ½ sticks butter (to taste or to the amount you’ll need)
  • 10 whole fresh sage leaves
  • Hot water from the pasta cooking pot
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated

Melt the butter over medium heat and lay in the sage leaves. Heat until the butter is sizzling gently. Toast the leaves for a minute or so.

Ladle in 1 cup boiling pasta water, stir and simmer for about 2mins.

Transfer the Gnudi to the butter sauce and simmer for a minute. Just before serving top with grated cheese.