Thursday, July 23, 2015

What the Heck is Gnudi?

The word 'Gnudi' comes from the Italian for 'nude' and refers to the idea of 'naked ravioli'.
Supposedly the ugly sister of Gnocchi... made luscious with ricotta and just a little flour instead of potatoes. The dumplings are light, delicate and soft, and melt in your mouth. Even better, they are very fast and easy to make... Ricotta Ravioli without the pasta and added carbs!
The trick to this recipe is getting the right amount of flour into the dough; you want enough to hold the dumplings together but not so much that they get heavy, and that can vary depending on the ricotta and egg. You may want to cook a test dumpling before shaping the rest of them. If it falls apart, stir in another tablespoon of flour or so.
With fresh basil and the greenhouse tomatoes ripening fast, this is a fresh, easy, summer dish. If your tomatoes are not yet ripe, use your favorite tomato sauce. The bottom photo of Basil Gnudi was served with last year's 'Roasted Tomato Sauce' from my freezer, (page 198 'For the Love of Food'). 
Next week I will feature the most talked about ... and most photographed... summer veggie in my container garden. Take a guess!

RICOTTA AND BASIL GNUDI       Yield: 2 servings or 4 servings as appies (about 18 dumplings)
These easy, delicate dumplings can be assembled and formed several hours before serving then cooked fresh in minutes. 
Portion, gently form dumplings and roll in semolina
250g. fresh ricotta, *drained
1 oz. fresh, grated Parmesan cheese 
1 egg yolk
3-4 Tbsp. unbleached flour
Pinch of sea salt 
2 Tbsp. finely chopped, fresh basil
1/4 cup semolina

3-4 Tbsp. butter, divided
4 mini courgette, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup tomato sauce 
Grated Parmesan for serving
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

In a bowl combine; drained Ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolk, flour and salt until well mixed and smooth. Gently mix in basil. Using a #100 scoop (about a teaspoon), make a small test dumpling. Coat your hands with semolina and gently press the portion into a ball using the palms of your hands. Then slightly flatten to form an oval and roll gently in more semolina until it is evenly coated. At this point, cook the test dumpling in simmering, salted water until it floats. If it falls apart, stir in another tablespoon or so of flour. Then test one more dumpling, if you want. Continue to portion remaining gnudi into 16 balls and form into ovals, rolled in semolina. Place gnudi on a plate sprinkled with semolina. At this point they can be cooked or covered with plastic wrap and placed in the fridge for up to 4 hours.
To cook the gnudi; bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce the water temperature, gently add half of the batch and simmer gently until they rise to the top and stay there for 1 minute, about 5 minutes total time. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate while you cook the second batch. 
Place a non-stick fry pan over medium-high heat, add 1-2 tablespoons butter. When bubbly, but not brown, add the courgette halves and brown both sides, remove to a plate. Add remaining butter and when bubbly add the gnudi, gently turning until golden brown. 
To serve; Warm the tomato sauce over medium heat, divide into serving bowls. Plate the gnudi and courgette into desired servings and garnish with basil leaves and grated Parmesan cheese.   

*CHEF'S NOTE: To drain Ricotta; line a colander with 3 layers of cheese cloth and set it in a bowl. Dump the ricotta into the lined colander and let it drain in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Till next week... Bon App├ętit!

Photos by Sally Rae  

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