Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Not Nudie Gnudi
Unlike never nudes, I've had gnudi experiences. My first was at Picholine. It was restaurant week years ago (not my normal lunch destination obvs) and I had never tried gnudi before. That is just so sad because I had to wait so long to discover how delicious they are, in a way that gnocchi (it's little potato cousin) often aren't. Instead of being little pillows of heaven, if they aren't made well, gnocchi can be little starch grenades. However, the Picholine gnudi were light and fluffy and amazing. Fast forward to the opening of The Spotted Pig and the crazy delicious sheep's milk ricotta gnudi that are served there. Whoa. There's no reason to order anything else. Except the burger. Check please! Valet, bring my ambulance around.
It's not like I was obsessing over gnudi last week out of the blue, which wouldn't be unlike me, but it was while reading my weekly Food & Wine e-newsletter that I spied a recipe for a batch of spinach gnudi. And that was it. I bought my ingredients and got to work! While I may not be able to exactly replicate the perfection that I've had in restaurants (yet!), this rendition is pretty darn good...and super tasty and easy to make. I think some fresh basil might be a nice addition, or a lathering in a simple brown butter. And just to show how on trend I am, check out this article in the NY Times today!
Spinach & Ricotta Gnudi
(Adapted from Food & Wine)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups spinach, stems discarded
2 pounds fresh ricotta
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 cups all-purpose flour
All-purpose tomato sauce
4 tablespoons butter, optional
1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, a handful at a time, and stir over until wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander and let cool. Squeeze the spinach dry and finely chop it.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a stand mixer, combine the spinach with the ricotta, eggs, nutmeg, and the 1/2 cup of Parmesan and mix on medium-low speed until blended. Add the flour in 3 batches, mixing on low between additions, until just incorporated.
3. Add about one-fourth of the gnudi dough to a large, resealable plastic bag. With scissors, cut a 1/2-inch corner from the bag. Working over the boiling water, squeeze the dough through the corner opening and use a knife to cut it into 1-inch pieces as it is squeezed out. Cook the gnudi over moderately high heat until firm, about 3 minutes. (They will drop to the bottom of the pot and then float to the surface as they cook.) With a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer the gnudi to a platter. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Heat the tomato sauce and stir in the butter, if desired. Carefully transfer the gnudi to the tomato sauce and stir lightly to heat through. Spoon into shallow bowls and serve at once, passing more Parmesan at the table. Serves 6 - 8. This recipe can be halved and works perfectly.