Ravioli nudi are not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Italian pasta-like dishes. But the small cheesy dumplings, essentially ravioli without the pasta, are a perfect vehicle for enjoying Italian vegetables. The nudi in Domenica Marchetti's new cookbook, The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, are just as much leafy green as they are ricotta and Parmesan. She combines big leafy spinach with even bigger leafy swiss chard and the cheese for a grassy, earthy dumpling mixed with a light, delicate touch. Marchetti boils the nudi until they puff a bit, and then tosses them with a bare-bones tomato sauce. (They'd be just as good in browned butter.) It takes some time to form the dumplings, but the work is easy and almost like working with play dough (fun!).
Why I picked this recipe: I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone a little and explore the wider world of Italian "pasta."
What worked: Making these nudi is a great way to highlight tender, leafy greens and is a welcome break from more ordinary sautéed spinach.
What didn't: No problems here.
Suggested tweaks: You could use any combination of leafy greens here in place of the spinach and chard. If you want to use something heartier like kale, be sure to steam it until it is completely tender before chopping and folding it into the cheese mixture.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.