My Mum and Dad are great at spying recipes for me to try, and when they proudly presented me with this particular Gnudi one, there was a definite hint of -I’ve-stumped-you-now in my father’s eye. But never one to resist a challenge, I went about making some. This recipe is from the book – Too Good To Waste by Victoria Glass.
Technically dumplings, these billowy puffs of cheese are from Tuscany originally, where ricotta replaced potato in the more common Gnocchi. Gnudi is an English-adopted Tuscan word for the Italian term “nudi” (naked), the idea being that these balls of ricotta (and sometimes spinach) are “nude ravioli”, consisting of just the tasty filling without the pasta shell. Fine with me. I’m not adverse to a bowl of nude pasta if push comes to shove.
150g Rocket/ or you could probably use baby spinach
50g freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
Sage butter or tomato passata sauce to serve.
Place the rocket in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of boiling water and heat until the leaves are just wilted. Drain well, cool and chop finely. Mix this chopped rocket together with the ricotta, parmesan, egg, nutmeg, salt and some black pepper in a bowl.
Pour the semolina into a separate shallow bowl.
Wet your hands (to prevent sticking) and roll a walnut sized piece of ricotta mixture into balls in between your palms. Then coat this in semolina, leaving it to one side in the semolina dish when you move onto the next ball.
Continue like this until all the balls are used up. Then roll all the balls again through the semolina to make sure that they are well coated.
At this stage they need to go uncovered into the fridge for at least 48 hours. Here the gnudi will develop a skin to make them easier to cook. They can be frozen in a container at this stage.
When you are ready to cook the gnudi, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Adding a few gnudi at a time to this water, you will know when they are cooked as they will start to float. Using a slotted spoon remove the cooked gnudi to a frying pan with sizzling melted butter to finish them off.
I love them just like this, with extra parmesan, but you could throw them into a bowl of bubbling passata if you were feeling indulgent. Whatever way you chose they are divine.