Ricotta Dumplings with Fresh Tomato Sugo (Gnudi al Sugo Fresco)

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Call them dumplings, gnudi or patties, these soft, zesty morsels will have you beam in delight at the very first bite. What could go wrong when you combine the milky richness of fresh ricotta (rigorously full cream!), with home-made breadcrumbs, zingy herbs and the warm piquancy of nutmeg? These delectable bites are delicately poached in a fresh tomato sauce ready to be devoured with a generous chunk of crusty bread or gently mixed through perfectly al dente spaghetti. Did I mention they are ridiculously easy to make?


For the Sugo

850 gr (2 lb) of fresh tomatoes (or 1 tin of good quality tinned tomatoes or your own Passata)

1-2 shallots (or 1 medium brown onion), finely chopped

4 tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 garlic clove, skin on, bashed with back of a knife

1 small celery stick, finely chopped

salt flakes, to taste

a handful of basil leaves

For the dumplings

450 g (2 1/2 cups) full-cream ricotta (using low-fat ricotta won’t work…Live a little!)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt flakes

1 pinch freshly ground white pepper

100–120gr (2/3 cups) of fresh breadcrumbs (simply place stale bread in a food processor and blitz until you have coarse breadcrumbs)

2/3 cup (50 g) freshly grated pecorino

1 good handful of chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

semolina flour for dusting


1. Start by making the sauce. Wash the tomatoes, score the top gently with a knife and blanch them in boiling water for 1 minutes. Plunge them  into cold water to allow the skin to come off easily. Peel the tomatoes, chop them roughly and set aside.

2. Heat up the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. Stir fry the shallots, celery and the garlic on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until the shallots turn translucent and slightly golden and the garlic smells fragrant. Drop in the chopped tomatoes with half a cup of water (or tinned tomatoes, if using. Or, if you’ve been amazingly good, your own Passata…), season with salt and cook on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and set aside. For a smoother sauce, blitz in a food processor for 4-5 seconds. Scatter some basil leaves on top and set aside.


3. Make the dumplings by mixing all the ingredients in a large bowl. The mixture needs to feel sticky, but workable. If too dry add a few tablespoons of milk. If too wet, add a little extra cheese or breadcrumbs.


4. Let the mixture sit in the fridge, covered with plastic film, to firm up for 30 minutes or overnight.

5. Shape the dumplings with wet hands, the size of a golf ball. Place them on an oven tray lined with baking paper and dusted with semolina flour until ready to cook.

6. Heat up the tomato sugo in a large pot of frying pan. Add a little water if it looks dry. When the sauce comes to a simmer, gently drop in the dumplings. Cover with a lid and let the steam cook them through, for about 5-6 minutes. Take the lid off and gently, using a wooden spoon, turn them over. They are extremely delicate, so be mindful! Cook for a further minute, uncovered then turn the heat off.

7. You can serve them immediately, although I find that they are better the next day, a little firmer in texture and all the flavours harmoniously combined.


Serve with crusty bread or freshly cooked pasta.


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27 Comments Add yours

  1. Christina says:

    Silvia, this looks incredibly delicious! We have made ricotta gnocchi before, but not like these. I am going to buy ricotta tomorrow and make these as soon as I can! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Fantastic, Christina. Please let me know how you go.

      1. Christina says:

        I made these tonight-OMG! They didn’t look as lovely as yours, but they were SO DELICIOUS!! Thank you for this recipe, Silvia-it’s a keeper!

  2. Question: there is a big difference between 1 tin of tomatoes (good or otherwise) and 850g of fresh…unless you mean a big tin or am I missing something??

    1. Hi Diana. Once you cook down 850 gr of fresh tomatoes, they will reduce to about 400-500 gr, which is, more or less what you get out of a tin. Hope this helps!

      1. I knew I was missing something – of course! Thanks Silvia

      2. No, worries. Let me know if you try them! x

  3. Kelly says:

    These look amazing! Are tinned tomatoes the same thing as canned tomatoes?

    1. HI Kelly, yes they are. Hope this helps!

  4. Gorgeous! I love a flavorful meal like this…and good crusty bread is a must 😉 xx

    1. Oh, yes, bread makes everything better. I have a ciabatta baking as I type…

  5. Adri says:

    Hi Silvia,

    I love gnudi, and with the sugo these look very tempting. What beautiful photographs. Brava!

    1. Brigitte says:

      Thanks for showing American measurments….would love you to translate all your recipes! When will you be available to pinterest???!!!

      1. My pleasure Brigitte. I’m striving to amend my older posts to include cup measurements too. You can pin my photos by selecting Pin it from your toolbar.

    2. Grazie Adri! These are a little wetter than the traditional ones you boil, but they are incredibly fully once poached.

  6. This looks amazing! Oh my!

    1. Thanks Laney! Very glad you enjoyed this post.

  7. Oh I love gnudi mmm

    1. Thank you! I have a secret addiction to all things dumplings!

  8. Dear Silvia,

    I’m on holiday with family and one of the things I love to do is cook. I tried your gnudi last night and they were a hit (definitely with my belly!). As someone else has said “This one’s a keeper”.

  9. bellini says:

    This is definitely something I would enjoy.

    1. Thanks! It is a family favourite at my house!

  10. Ane says:

    Great recipe, some work needs to be done on the website though, i cant ever read properly, background needs to be looked at

    1. Thanks for the feedback

  11. cora bolton says:

    Made these today for Mother’s Day – sooooooo delicious!!
    I served them with polenta and some crusty bread….

    1. Oh, sounds divine!!

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