Garden greens and ricotta gnudi with sage butter sauce

We make this often, as our garden gifts us with an abundance of leafy greens all year round. Any greens will do, but make sure you have the equivalent of about 2 bunches of silverbeet, as they will shrink down once cooked. Serves 4-6


Leafy greens, thicker stems removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped majoram

250g fresh ricotta

1 cup finely grated pecorino (or parmesan) plus extra to serve

1 egg, lightly beaten

50g fresh breadcrumbs (made from day old bread)

pinch ground nutmeg

plain flour, for dusting

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

toasted pine nuts, to serve


Sage butter sauce

125g butter, chopped

20 sage leaves


Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil. Add the greens and
cook for about 4 minutes, until soft. Drain into a colander and leave until cool
enough to handle. Use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as you can.

Chop finely and place into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the onion.
Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Stir in the garlic and
marjoram and cook for 1 minute. Add to the greens and leave to cool, then
give it all another good chop. If it is too coarse, it may not hold together
while cooking.
Add the ricotta, pecorino, egg, breadcrumbs and nutmeg. Season with salt
and pepper and combine well. Dust a large tray generously with flour and
season it with salt and pepper.
Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Roll in the seasoned flour and dust off
the excess. Transfer to another tray and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
To make the sage butter sauce, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-
low heat. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until bubbling
then add the sage leaves and let them crisp up in the butter. Once the butter
has become a nutty brown, turn off the heat and keep warm.
Working in batches, gently add the gnudi to the saucepan, reducing the heat
slightly so the water is simmering rather than boiling hard. When the gnudi
balls float up to the top, they are cooked and ready to remove from the water.

Lift out with a slotted spoon and place into a large warmed serving dish,

spaced a bit apart. Don’t pile them up on top of each or they might break up.
Pour the sage butter sauce over all the balls. Lightly sprinkle with toasted
pine nuts and extra grated pecorino and season with ground black pepper.


Recipe extracted from Where the river bends, by Jimmy and Jane Barnes. HarperCollinsPublishers RRP $55.00

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