We came across this recipe a few weeks ago while trying to find something to watch on Foxtel, all those channels and most of them full of rubbish..
Our old pal Jamie Oliver was making Gnudi’s, fitting I suppose as he did first appear as the Naked Chef some years ago. Basically they are gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese instead of potato, with semolina. The result is often a lighter, “pillowy” dish, unlike the often denser, chewier gnocchi. Jamie’s recipe was served with a Burnt Butter and Sauce, we did ours with a tomato based sauce, but you can serve them however takes your fancy.
The recipe is fairly simple but does benefit from being made at least a day in advance so the semolina forms a ‘crust’ around your gnudi.
You will need:
1kg best-quality ricotta (if it’s very moist, let it drain in a time muslin cloth for an hour or so)
115g Parmesan cheese
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
Fine semolina, for dusting
Good-quality unsalted butter
1 bunch of fresh sage (1 oz)
Parmesan cheese, for grating
1. Put the ricotta into a bowl with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then finely grate in the Parmesan and a few scrapings of nutmeg. Beat it together, then have a taste to check that the balance of seasoning is right—you want the nutmeg to be very subtle. You could add a hit of chilli if you are son inclined. Generously cover a large tray with semolina, then roll the ricotta mixture into 1-inch balls, rolling them in the tray of semolina as you go until very well coated. You should get around 40 gnudi from this amount of mixture. Shake and cover very well with the semolina and leave for 8 hours, or preferably overnight, in the fridge (don’t cover the tray)—the semolina will dehydrate the ricotta, giving the gnudi a lovely fine coating.
2. The gnudi will only take 3 minutes to cook, and I like to cook them in two-portion batches to take care of them. So, shake the excess semolina off two portions’ worth of gnudi and cook them in boiling salted water while you melt a large pat of butter in a frying pan on a medium heat and pick in about 20 sage leaves to crisp up. Remove the crispy leaves to a plate and scoop the gnudi directly from the water into the frying pan, adding a spoonful of the cooking water. When the butter and water have emulsified, take off the heat and grate over a layer of Parmesan, add just a few drops of lemon juice, then toss together. Serve in warm bowls straightaway, with an extra grating of nutmeg and Parmesan and the crispy sage leaves, while you get on with the next batch, wiping the frying pan clean between batches. Welcome to the naked club.
Gnudi can be easily transformed with the addition of one seasonal ingredient. Asparagus tips, podded peas, wild mushrooms, or a few fresh tomatoes—any of these with that sage butter will rock the party. In summer, some smashed fresh basil leaves in the ricotta mixture are lovely; or in winter, a splash of quality red wine used to deglaze the frying pan adds much deliciousness.
They make a simple yet comforting meal and depending what you serve with them they are fairly healthy…