These fried spinach and cheese croquettes are a delicious variation of the traditional Italian gnudi recipe. They’re breaded and deep-fried and perfect for a party or game day.
Gnudi, also called Malfatti (“ugly shaped” in Italian) are delicious Tuscan dumplings made with a mixture very similar to the Ravioli filling. The legend tells of an Italian cook that tried to boil the leftovers stuffing of fresh pasta, creating in this way the Gnudi (“Gnudi” means “naked” in Tuscan dialect, filling stripped of the pasta shell).
The recipe is basically the same in all the Tuscany cities, besides a couple of things.
The first is the quantity of flour in the mixture: someone reduces or increase the amount, someone else just doesn’t use it: in the last case, the dough will be very soft, but very difficult to cook maintaining their shape.
The second difference concerns the cheese. Some recipes require just Parmigiano-Reggiano, some others only Pecorino Toscano, or a mix of both. Personally, I prefer use exclusively Parmigiano-Reggiano.
If you desire try the Gnudi traditional recipe, click here. Otherwise, to make the fried Gnudi variation, keep reading!
Italian Fried Spinach and Cheese CroquettesFilippo Trapella
- 5 lb 780 g fresh spinach
- 1/2 lb 230 g Ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup 50 g Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 4 eggs
- 14 tbsp 110 g all propose flour
- 10 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 pint sunflower oil
- 2 pinches nutmeg grated
- 10 leaves fresh sage
- 2 pinches black pepper
- as needed table salt
- BOILING SPINACH
- First, rinse the spinach leaves thoroughly and cook them 5 minutes in boiling water; then raise and pour the vegetables into iced water to stop the cooking and save the bright color. After that, squeeze the spinach a little at a time: it’s critical eliminate as much water as possible. Finally, mince the spinach.
- GNUDI DOUGH
- Now, combine in a bowl the spinach with ricotta, 2 eggs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 7 tbsp of flour, 2 pinches of nutmeg, 2 pinches of black pepper, and salt as needed. Whisk and knead the mixture until consistent, them store in the fridge covered with plastic wrap for at least 1 hour up to 24 hours.
- FRYING SPINACH AND CHEESE BALLS
- Divide the spinach and cheese dough into 20 parts shaping them into balls.
- Set 3 bowls on the table. Pour 7 tbsp of flour in the first bowl. After that, crack 2 eggs into the second bowl and whisk until consistent. Finally, pour the Panko breadcrumbs in the third bowl.
- Now, flour the spinach and cheese balls and shake with delicacy to eliminate the flour in excess. Then, immerse the Gnudi into the egg mixture, and finally, bread them with panko.Heat the sunflower oil in a pot until reach 345° F (175° C); fry the croquettes until golden and crispy, a few at a time, and raise with a slotted spoon. Let the balls dry over a dish lined with kitchen paper, and serve with your preferred sauces.
Born and raised in Bologna, Italy (hometown of lasagna and tortellini!), I grew up under the table of my grandmother helping her making fresh pasta for our Sunday feasts with the family. My passion for food stems from my curiosity, which has led me to travel around almost all continents (I still miss Oceania, but I hope to fill that gap soon!). During my trips I discovered the power of food. In my blog philosokitchen.com I write my recipes and my experiences around the world.